Facebook Dominates Magazines’ Social Media Audience, But Instagram Is Gaining Steam

Men's mags see growth on Pinterest

The MPA – The Association of Magazine Media is making good on its promise to start integrating social media data into its new Magazine Media 360° audience report.

Today, the MPA is releasing its first social media report that tracks the audiences of 166 magazines across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest between August and October of this year. The data, provided by SocialFlow, shows that while Facebook remains the biggest social platform for magazine brands, it's smaller platforms like Twitter and Pinterest that are experiencing the fastest growth.

As of October 31, Facebook comprised about half of the measured magazines' entire social media audience, or a total of 198 million followers. Twitter followed with an audience of 86 million, then Google+ with 69 million, Instagram with 20 million and Pinterest with 19 million. While magazines' Facebook audience grew 2.4 percent in September, their total Instagram audience saw a much higher 10.6 percent increase, and Twitter followers increased by 3.4 percent.

When broken down by single titles, National Geographic boasted the largest social media following, about 56.2 million, followed by Time magazine with 20.1 million followers. Playboy, interestingly enough, came in a close third with 18.7 million followers, followed by The Economist (18.3 million) Vogue (16.8 million) and People (12.5 million). When broken down by social media network, National Geographic dominated every platform except for Pinterest, and was also the fastest growing magazine brand on social media, increasing its audience by 15 percent between August and October.

On Facebook, National Geographic boasted 32.6 million fans. Playboy followed a distant second with 16.2 million fans, followed by Time (6.8 million), Vogue (6.1 million) and Cosmopolitan (5.6 million).

National Geographic also led by a large margin on Instagram with 8.6 million followers. (Its sister title, National Geographic Traveler, came in fifth place with 1.2 million followers.) Otherwise, the category was dominated by fashion titles like Vogue (the most-followed fashion brand, with 2.9 million followers), GQ, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, InStyle and Seventeen.

Pinterest was predictably fashion- and lifestyle-oriented (Harper's Bazaar was the top magazine brand on Pinterest with 4.7 million followers, while Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, This Old House, Real Simple and Health also fell within the top 10), but when it came to the brands experiencing the most growth on the platform, many were actually male-focused. Wired is clearly making a major effort to build its Pinterest audience—it had a nearly 150 percent increase in followers between August and October. Meanwhile, men's brands like The Family Handyman (up 55 percent), Popular Mechanics (up 37 percent) and Sports Illustrated (up 30 percent) are also seeing rapid Pinterest expansion.

"While there is still no broad agreement on what actually matters in social media," MPA president and CEO Mary Berner said in a statement, "the insights gleaned from this report can be valuable in gauging the efficiency of our strategies and investments in reaching our audience."