Industry Insights
Only Couture: The Coupling of High Fashion and Advertising with Cliche Group

Wilson Greene
Cliche Magazine (CMS Managers)



For those of us not familiar with Cliche Group, please tell us a little more about your online magazine and core audience.

Cliche Group is actually our umbrella.  We run several several social media and content marketing sites as well as a WordPress support and maintenance service.  Cliche Magazine is where it all started.  Our digital fashion magazine has been around since 2009 and we focus our energies on providing top notch editorial content highlighting fashion editorials, beauty, celebrity interviews, pop-culture, music and art. We publish 6 issues each year but have monthly covers.


What percentage of consumption of your magazine occurs online, as compared to on the print edition?

Our Magazine is first and foremost a digital magazine where consumption is nearly 100%. We do not have distribution at the moment but we do offer a print version through our partner Mag Cloud.


You took an interesting angle on your website design, using JOOMAG to give the experience of reading an actual magazine within a users’ browser. Is there a reason you decided to do this, and does this help / hurt on the advertising front?

We use JooMag because they have a sleek and robust flipbook which allows users to easily view our new issues via the web or mobile device.  Using JooMag has virtually no impact on advertising.  The majority of our advertisers want to know they’ll get visibility and engagement via the web and digital devices.


What types of advertisers to you typically work with – are they mostly fashion brands or those in your geographical area?

Our advertisers represent a wide variety of industries and niches but I wouldn’t say they are mostly fashion brands.  We’ve advertised everything from men’s laundry detergent, spirits, and travel to high profile cosmetic surgeons who are looking to add digital to their marketing mix.


I can see the benefits of using a company like JOOMAG to provide the technological infrastructure to turn a print magazine into a digital copy, that can be downloaded and distributed. With syndication, that only expands your advertiser reach – unlike what occurs with typical website RSS feeds and distributing content on social platforms. Do you ever have plans to convert your digital magazine into a regular website, to, for example, maximize on ad units, and potentially use an ad server?

We already do. Our entire magazine is represented by our blog, which ranks on the first page of google for digital fashion magazine and free fashion magazine.  We get a lot of organic traffic from our blog which of course we do monetize via CPC advertisements.


What do you think are the biggest challenges today of being a publisher?

The biggest challenges for us as a digital publisher is monetization and ad revenue.  I mention digital publisher because that is what we are even though we do offer a print version.  The challenge is that Millennials and even Gen X demographics typically do not pay for digital content. They very tech savvy and excellent researches and have mastered the art of searching for free content. That’s not to say they won’t pay for great content but even the larger publishers that aren’t focused on a digital version of their magazine have been challenged to monetize their content. Instead they take lower margins on their huge subscribers list though they are seeing more users demanding digital access over print.


Do you have any thoughts on potentially monetizing through ad exchanges, ad networks, or with branded content / sponsored posts in your online magazine version?

This is a great question and we’ll have to see how they dynamics of digital publishing evolve over the next few years. We’re all waiting for the larger publishers to invest in new technology to push the digital movement but they have been reluctant to do so. Until that happens, yes digital publishers are almost reliant on exchanges and networks to grow their audience and syndicate their content.  I will say that a growing percentage of our ad revenue comes from sponsored posts.  Because of this we have implemented strict publishing guidelines and vetting process.  Providing our audience with relevant content be it what we produce or share on behalf of agencies and bloggers is of extreme importance to us. We have over 200 content partners that we work with at the moment.


Ad blocking doesn’t currently affect you, as your digital magazine is served almost as a dynamic PDF. If you ever do decide to switch over to a regular website with ads served through an ad server such as Doubleclick for Publishers, how would you mitigate ad blocking by consumers?

Since we do have a regular website with ads being served, there are always ways around being blocked.  Pop unders work well as do header/footer bars depending on the campaign. I also think from a branding standpoint you have to mix things up.  For instance for a lot of fashion brands we host sweepstakes and giveaways in which they get access to the data collected on sign up. Digital publishers have to use a varied mix of advertising and offerings to generate revenue.


Lastly, what is your take on the future of independent publishers, as it relates to the selling of digital advertising?

Digital Advertising will continue to grow among independent publishers because we are on the ground floor forging partnerships with those that want to get involved in digital branding and visibility.  Independent publishers rely on advertising to keep the lights on so it’s something we live and breath daily. I think the digital publishers that will stand out among their competitors are the ones that ultimately create their own platform and digital experiences for their audience and advertisers. Printed advertising has it’s own set of outcomes and conversions versus what digital advertisers are looking for.  Digital advertisers want more engagement and direct relationships with potential fans and customers because of the viral and sharing influence digital provides. At the end of the day however, any advertising still needs to postively affect your bottom line so it’s definitely something digital publishers keep top of mind.



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