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Does Condé Nast Really Do it Better?

Magazines like Elle, People, and Us Weekly have vastly low engagement numbers on social media compared to others, which survived and even thrived off the switch from conventional media to social media. With celebrities producing their own personal content containing intimate details. This helps facilitate already popular ideas like self-care, body positivity, and overall inclusivity, making them highly relevant themes throughout current popular culture. This switch in media production has made the idea of paparazzi and tabloids exposing sordid details about celebrities' and influencers' lives taboo. This has prompted the takeover of audiences by fashion magazines.

Source: BuzzFeed News

During the 2000s and early 2010s, it was not only acceptable but encouraged to harass and violate celebrities. The public ate up stories about Lindsay Lohan acting erratically while out at some club in LA and the new updates on Brangelia's relationship.

There was an obsession with celebrities and their lives among the American public. Having their lives exploited and distorted all over the popular media undoubtedly caused a great deal of harm to many young stars. Since the global switch to digital media, tabloids that flourished during the 2000s and early 2010s have seen a drastic drop in user engagement compared to other publications that are seen as more refined. This may not seem like the case because of their significant presence in the media industry. But after looking at the numbers, it is clear they need to be updated, or they will be pushed into the background of modern media.

Source: Condé Nast

Now, this obsession is satisfied by the overuse of social media. Instead of the public prying and begging for more. With the inappropriate tactics of the paparazzi and tabloids, fans are protective and defensive of celebrities as long as the stream of content is consistently released. Media tabloids act as a middleman in this process. Media distribution and production have changed significantly over the past few decades, which has resulted in tabloid audiences deteriorating dramatically and being taken over by other publications.

Condé Nast, one of the largest publishing houses for magazines, has dominated the magazine industry for decades. Boosting publications like Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, Allure, Teen Vogue, and Glamour, which have stayed consistently popular.

When Anna Wintour took over Vogue in the 80s, she took the straightforward, concise writing style used in fashion journalism to write about celebrities and their style. Instead of supermodels on the front covers, actresses, singers, writers, and all other types of stars would become the face of one of the most popular fashion magazines.

Source: CNN

In response to audience approval, most other Condé Nast publications followed suit. However, Condé Nast is world-renowned for its fashion, which is why tabloids were just as popular as other Condé Nast publications during the 2000s and early 2010s. Now that the target demographics have changed, it is clear that Condé Nast publications made the right choice in switching the frame of their content which can be seen with a look at the analytics of their social media accounts.

Vogue Magazine vs. People Magazine

Instagram Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

TikTok Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

After viewing the analytics above, it is clear that Vogue currently has a much bigger audience and reach than People. People's top engaged posts on both Instagram and TikTok are about the new celebrity babies that have been born recently or are going to be born soon. These topics run in line with typical tabloid content that has been around for decades. These posts received around 200k to 500k likes and 500 to 3,000 likes.

In comparison, Vogue's top posts on both TikTok and Instagram are very different from one another. On Instagram, their most engaged posts are first looks and reactions to the outfits worn on this year's Golden Globe's red carpet. While this is typical content for Vogue, it is also what target demographics want to see. The posts about the Golden Globes received 800k to 950k likes and 800 to 1,500 comments.

On TikTok, Vogue's most engaged posts are lifestyle interviews with actresses and models that boast topics like body image in Hollywood and celebrity fashion throughout the years, with 400k to 500k likes and 800 to 1,500 comments. Vogue follows current trends better than People, which follows the traditional tabloid format. Vogue is the clear winner here, with millions more followers and hundreds of thousands more acts of engagement.

UsWeekly vs. Vanity Fair

Instagram Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

TikTok Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

Analytics show that Vanity Fair receives much more engagement on social media than UsWeekly. In both TikTok and Instagram, Vanity Fair has consistent content and covers similar topics. The most popular posts are Vanity Fair's Celebrity interviews, Golden Globe winners' acceptance speeches, and celebrity interviews. The posts took the words straight from the celebrities themselves rather than paraphrasing and writing about them from a journalist's point of view. The posts were liked by 50k to 200k people and commented on by 50 to 1,000 people.

UsWeekly's top-performing posts seem somewhat of a mixed bag but mainly focus on various aspects of this year's Golden Globes. In this post, they mainly discuss speculative celebrity relationships and who attended the Golden Globes, which is similar to what tabloids usually cover. These posts mostly feature fluff as they talk about speculative celebrity relationships and who brought who to the Golden Globes. Their top-performing posts received anywhere from 200 to 100k likes and 5 to 3,000 comments. Vanity Fair's concise and straightforward content beat out UsWeekly's fluffier content in user engagement.

Elle Magazine vs. Vogue Magazine

Instagram Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

TikTok Analytics

Source: Rival IQ

From the analytics above, it is easy to see that Vogue is much more popular than Elle. Having said that, the two publications present very similar content, the only considerable difference being how the content is framed. Both magazines feature Instagram posts about Schiaparelli's spring 2023 couture show and red-carpet outfits from the Golden Globes. Vogue's framing for their posts mainly focuses on the fashion choices made by celebrities, while Elle frames their posts around the stars themselves. Elle's top Instagram posts received 16k to 38k likes and 90 to 700 comments, much lower than Vogue's engagement, which was referenced under the first comparison.

Both accounts' TikTok posts are in line with their Instagram posts. Vogue uses celebrities to talk about fashion and lifestyle choices, while Elle reports on celebrities, interviewing them about random things like their biggest pet peeve. Elle's top engaged TikTok posts received anywhere from 200 to 2,000 likes and 1 to 20 comments. Once again, Vogue comes out on top in user engagement with over 200k more likes and over 500 more comments.

This concise and straightforward content has been adored by Millennials and Gen Z since they became the primary target demographics for content producers. This can be seen with the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat's discover page. Audiences seem to no longer like the fluff pieces that readers once loved. Today, readers expect writing that does more than fill a page. Certain magazines and publications will continue to fade into obscurity without a change in how the content is framed.

Celebrities and the public both benefit from the shift in content because both live healthier lives and have healthier interests. Some aspects of celebrities' lives can be made public and others can remain private. Fans are now much more respectful and protective of stars, having seen what the exploitation of one's life can do to a person. In many ways, the way media is produced and distributed now has made life a bit easier and healthier for everyone.

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