Top Revenue Models for Digital Magazines

Digitizing your magazines opens up new revenue streams

The publishing industry is in a constant state of flux and many publishers are looking for new revenue models for online content. Some great examples include fantastic new initiatives such as those launched by The Correspondent and Blendle. But what exactly are the potential revenue models for responsive digital magazines?

1. Add responsive advertising to your Digital Magazines

Just as in printed magazines, your clients can also advertise in digital magazines. However, the responsiveness of ads must be taken into account. Ensure that ad campaigns for responsive ads communicate the same message on all devices.

Your online magazine will show if your ad has been viewed on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. You can also measure how many people have seen your ad or have clicked on it and how many conversions have occurred. This data will help you determine the ROI for your ads. In addition to measurability, a digital advertisement can contain lots of multimedia content (such as videos or music) or a personalized call-to-action.

2. Add native advertising to your Online Magazines

Add native advertising to your Online Magazines

Native advertising is a form of advertising through sponsored or branded content. Publishers and multimedia corporations enter into innovative partnerships with brands and must ensure creative and relevant content. BuzzFeed, for example, creates atypical content that is sponsored by car brand MINI.

The advantage of native advertising is that it is much more appreciated by consumers than ‘traditional’ online ads. Native advertising is also extremely well suited to viewing on mobile devices. The quality of the sponsored content has to be good. Take care to ensure that the content does not seem unreliable or fanciful.

Digital magazines are great for branded content. You can tell amazing visual stories that are not boring to read.

3. Add Display Advertising to your Magazines

You can use display banners to let external parties advertise in your magazine. Online banners are a logical step in creating a revenue model, but working with banners is not always lucrative. Banner blindness is also something to consider: the more a banner looks like an advertisement, the more people will ignore it. You can always carry out tests.

There are different revenue models for banners:

  • CPM (Cost Per Mille)
    Cost per 1000 impressions.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click)
    Cost per ‘click’. This means an advertiser only pays if people click on the banner.
  • CPM + CPC (Cost Per Mille + Cost Per Click)
    Cost per 1000 showings plus cost per click.
  • CPweek (Cost Per week)
    A fixed amount is set for one or several weeks of displaying the advertisement.
  • Fixed-price
    An all-inclusive fixed fee for a specified period.

4. Add a Subscription service to your Digital Magazine

Add a Subscription service to your Digital Magazine

It is possible to let people pay for online content through subscriptions. However, you must be able to show that there is enough added value for which there are few or no alternatives available. This will be harder for more general news, but there are definitely opportunities in ‘niche’ or specialized markets.

5. Offer a Freemium

Freemium is a business model that offers part of an article or content for free, but that requires payment to access all content. This premium content is exclusively available to subscribers.

6. Use your Magazine for Lead generation

An advantage of being an online publisher is that you can offer specific information tailored to people’s requirements. You could, for example, write a white paper about a specific subject that matches your readers’ wishes. Your readers will often be prepared to give you personal information in exchange for valuable content. This way they gain access to valuable content and you can compile an interesting database and hopefully generate sales. A win-win situation!

Related: How to improve your lead generation strategy.

7. Be innovative and flexible with your Magazine

The publishing industry is in a constant state of flux and you must be innovative, creative, and smart in working with revenue models. Marketingfacts, for example, has recently started using a ‘device manufacturer-sponsored access’ revenue model. This DMSA model makes access to the mobile version of the website exclusive to users of cell phones and tablets by brands that have signed an agreement with Marketingfacts for this purpose. You can then only make optimal use of the website if you have the right device.

In any case, there are many possibilities for online content. Having technical difficulties? Perform some tests, be flexible, and adjust your revenue model if necessary.


What are the common revenue models for digital magazines?
Common revenue models include subscriptions, advertising, sponsored content, pay-per-article, and freemium models, where basic content is free, but premium content requires payment.

How do subscription models work for digital magazines?
Subscription models charge readers a regular fee for access to the magazine’s content. This can be a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee for full access to all digital content.

What role does advertising play in digital magazine revenue?
Advertising is a significant revenue stream, where digital magazines sell ad space to businesses. The revenue can vary based on the magazine’s reach and audience demographics.

How does sponsored content generate revenue for digital magazines?
Sponsored content involves creating and publishing articles, videos, or other media that promote a sponsor’s product or service, blending with the magazine’s regular content.

What is a pay-per-article revenue model in digital magazines?
In a pay-per-article model, readers pay for individual articles rather than subscribing to the entire magazine. This model is effective for highly specialized or in-demand content.

Can digital magazines generate revenue through affiliate marketing?
Yes, digital magazines can earn commissions by promoting products or services and providing affiliate links within their content.

How do digital magazines use freemium models to generate revenue?
In a freemium model, basic content is available for free, while more in-depth, premium content is gated behind a subscription or one-time payment.

What is the role of e-commerce in digital magazine revenue models?
E-commerce revenue is generated by selling products related to the magazine’s content or audience interests, often through a dedicated online store.

How can exclusive memberships contribute to digital magazine revenues?
Exclusive memberships offer readers special benefits, like access to exclusive content, events, or communities, for a higher subscription fee.

Are event hosting and webinars viable revenue streams for digital magazines?
Hosting events, webinars, or workshops related to the magazine’s niche can be a significant source of revenue, either through ticket sales or sponsorships.

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Author bio

Ritesh SheombarRitesh is a digital marketing manager with years of experience in driving growth. He’s currently the director of inbound marketing at Foleon. You can find more about him on his LinkedIn profile.

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