Print Mags Are Back on Top…of Pinterest

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By Patrick Coffee

So...heavy...You may have heard the news that the public’s long, sordid love affair with print magazines — those prime drivers of the recycling/waste management industry — has come to an end. And yet, scruffy upstarts like Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens seem to have gained a new lease on life by way of a fancy new social media site called Pinterest. Sound familiar?

Let’s review the numbers: Social media analytics experts ZoomSphere tell us that print mags occupy at least 15 of the top 50 spots in the fast-growing Pinterest brand hierarchy, with Real Simple currently sitting pretty at number 3. How do they do it? Visualization. These magazines’ art directors know the game and play it well; anyone who has ever read a Real Simple recipe on an iPad can confirm that it’s a lovely, eminently shareable thing.

According Min Online’s Steve Smith, these well-made Pinterest pages have simply virtualized the time-honored practice of scrapbooking: Picking your favorite photos, recipes and design ideas, cutting them out and adding them to that well-worn tome you keep on hand for moments when you need a little domestic inspiration.

Killer wedding blog The Perfect Palette retains its perch atop the Pinterest flock for the time being (and a quick glance at their imagery will tell you why), but the list is filled with one-time heavy hitters like Cooking Light, Shape and Country Living. It’s difficult to calculate any precise ROI for these stats, and sharing or “re-pinning” numbers may be a more accurate measure of a given brand’s Pinterest influence, but we have to think that the folks at Meredith (and a certain ex-con) are very happy with this development. What do you think? Can these print brands rise again on the strength of a thousand pins?