Fashion bible Vogue is taking the top spot in the closely watched September ad page contest, which is widely seen as a yardstick of the health of the industry.
The Condé Nast book weighed in last year at 658 ad pages; this year, publisher Susan Plagemann added 1 percentage point for a total of 665 total ad pages. That marks four issues in a row of growth and Vogue’s third largest issue ever. (2007 remains the record-breaker with 725 ad pages, followed by 2008 with 674, but both totals included a now-discontinued Fashion Rocks supplement.)
Time Inc.'s InStyle, historically a close second to Vogue, came in at 455 pages. Publisher Karin Tracy, who joined from Entertainment Weekly in May, succeeding Connie Anne Phillips, tweeted that the September issue was its largest-ever. Also closing its largest issue ever is sister title People StyleWatch, up 3 percent with 190 ad pages.
After a late arrival to the Web, Vogue is also up in Web traffic (Vogue.com launched in 2010 and now contains 90 percent Web-exclusive content) and social media (it’s the No. 1 fashion account on Twitter and No. 1 fashion magazine on Facebook). In the second quarter of 2013, page views on Vogue.com were up 21 percent year over year (85 percent of that audience is people who aren’t regular Vogue readers, per MRI), while revenue is up 32 percent year to date.
“These platforms are a way to capture an entire new group of consumers,” Plagemann said.
Earlier, Condé Nast rival Hearst predicted an uptick in ad pages across its titles.
Overall, Condé Nast is reporting its strongest September in five years, driven by endemic growth in fashion, luxury, and beauty, plus double-digit gains in tech, automotive, and food, said Condé Nast Media Group president and CRO Lou Cona.
Glamour reversed course from September 2012 with a sizable 18 percent gain, closing this year’s issue with 224 total ad pages. W and Teen Vogue will have their best September issues in five years, with 288 ad pages (up 17 percent) and 162 ad pages (up 12 percent), respectively. Allure was up 12 percent to 147 on continued strong demand from beauty and fragrance marketers.
It was a mixed bag at other titles. Bon Appétit was up a whopping 49 percent to 91 pages. Details added 6 percent, to 148 pages. But Lucky, which just changed editors and is still finding its footing, was up just 1 percent for a total of 137 pages. (Lucky, where Anna Wintour has been trying to raise the fashion sensibility, new advertisers included Louis Vuitton, Dior and Armani.) And GQ closed with 205 ad pages, up 1 percent.