Literature Review Unit 12, 12.2.1, 12.2.2

My specialist study is to investigate how online lifestyle magazines target their audiences.

My hypothesis is that social media is one of the main ways in which online magazines target their audience, although they still use other techniques such as design, content and style.

I have carried out primary and secondary research and have used academic and cultural sources.

Jay (1996) stresses the importance of understanding your audience for commercial success and how businesses benefit from using social media. My evaluation of this source is that it is very relevant to my specialist study and a reliable source with accurate information. However, it is a book that has been published 20 years ago which means it will need updating on information for this decade.

Lancaster and Massingham (1993) has not provided me with any useful information towards my research. It is more based on marketing and I did not find it very reliable as it was published more than 20 years ago. I understand the information is not up to date and preferred to search in a more recently published book that also has the information which is more relevant to my research.

Through my use of cultural sources, I have found relevant information on how magazines use social media to engage readers. Mashable‘s article offers ‘7 Ways Print Magazines Are Using Social Media to Engage Readers’ (Gotthilf, 2011) listing information on how magazines can make a better experience for their customers.  The source is reliable, popular, very up to date and is a entertainment/news website which has a good reputation. The subject matter is very relevant to my study.

My primary research has shown me how various lifestyle magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour have gained access to a broader audience via social media. For example, followers count on Instagram. How they have advertised themselves over other social networks and even have their own section in Snapchat Discoveries. This will help me with my FMP because now I know what techniques to use to attract readers to my online lifestyle magazine.

“Cosmo’s social media team posts between 50 to 100 items per day on the social networks, which drives about 35 million page views from the networks to the mobile and desktop websites.” (source)

My primary research highlights the dominant role that social media plays in young people’s lives, so businesses prefer this technique to gain more followers and readers which therefore helps them make more profit. My research was through social media apps where I get to see how magazines advertise themselves firsthand.

Additional information I found on Click Consult (a digital marketing company) is that you have to target the right audience through social media. Such as, if a larger percentage of your audience uses Twitter more than Tumblr, you will advertise more on Twitter. This is a well established company providing advice to the marketing industry.

In conclusion, the research I found online was more useful than the information found in books. This has reinforced my hypothesis that social media does have a big impact on audiences.


  • Jay, R (1996) The Essential Marketing Sourcebook, Pitman Publishing
  • Lancaster, G, Massingham, L (1993) Essentials of Marketing, McGraw-Hill

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