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Magazines Betting Big on Social Media

Condé Nast, Hearst seek revenue from networking sites
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As their readers are spending more time online, publishers are trying to make social networking work for their advertisers.

With a program launching Sept. 1, Marie Claire is betting that if readers are fans of the magazine, they will like its advertisers, too.

Timed to coincide with the key fashion season, the Hearst Magazines title is introducing a contest on its Facebook page where readers can vote to win beauty and fashion products that have been chosen by the magazine’s editors. The “Gotta Have It!” contest will feature a different Marie Claire advertiser, like Michael Kors, YSL, and DKNY, each day for 30 days. To participate, readers have to “like” the product as well as the magazine, and the more people vote and like the products, the more publicity they’ll generate for Marie Claire’s advertisers.  

“The whole opportunity to like, shop, and share is very big on the radar for marketers,” said Nancy Berger Cardone, publisher of Marie Claire. “It’s definitely tapped into social shopping as a trend and the value clients put into editors' picks.”

Also this week, Condé Nast will introduce a Web tool called Condé Nast Social Sidekick. It's a tool that cross-pollinates content from six of its fashion and beauty titles while letting advertisers tap into the most-shared editorial content from those titles. The content will be aggregated in a unit that will sit on each site and offer the space below to advertisers, who can use it to display their own content. Gucci is the first to sponsor the unit.   

Other magazines have experimented with 2-D bar codes to entice readers to interact with advertisers, but with limited success. Cardone said for luxury advertisers, those were a tough sell because they required putting a bar code logo on the ad’s creative. Advertisers liked the exclusive nature of this program (it was limited to 30 advertisers) and the ability to have Marie Claire’s Facebook page all to themselves for a day, she said.