Come on Cosmo!


Cosmo free e-letter sign-ups have just jumped from 30,000 to 84,399. But it took them 11 months to send a subscription promotion out!

Cosmopolitan’s new email promotions
Illustrated in issue 76 of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter is the first Cosmopolitan subscription promotion we have seen since we registered on the site in October 2008 — it took 11 months for NatMags to send one out.

A pretty weak promotion – and very late!

Cosmo is a great brand. We think it could have a much wider circulation and has been held back.

Glamour, Conde Nast’s rival to Cosmo, has a total circulation of 526,145. Cosmo has a circulation of 441,663 – 84,482 fewer.

How Cosmo loses money
What’s 84,482 extra sales worth to Cosmo?

In newstrade revenue, 84,482 means a loss of £1.4 million

In subscription revenue 84,482 means a loss of £3.34 million

And you have to account for all that extra advertisement revenue the extra 19 per cent in circulation brings in.

Things are changing though, with some deft marketing touches. Cosmopolitan’s sign-up page now has our best-practice standard of five fields (see our marketing best practice website). It has also added four ‘benefits’ under ‘main reasons to register’.

The copy isn’t strong but overall it’s not bad going: last year we reported the sign-up page had 24 fields to complete just to receive its free newsletter! That’s a small clue to why sign-ups have since increased. Someone there is reading our newsletter.

Things could improve a lot with more of that ‘best practice’ marketing. Now let’s check on the money and how much is being lost while we wait.

How discounting affects Cosmopolitan’s profit
Cosmopolitan’s overall subscription sale has grown from 38,491 in 2007 to 55,813 in 2009, a 45 per cent increase, which is impressive.

If all those copies were sold at the basic annual rate of £39.60, revenue would be £2,210,195. But Cosmopolitan sells 32,527 (58 per cent) at an average discount of 54 per cent below the annual subscription rate.

Cosmo is losing more than £696,000 a year by discounting.

Cosmo’s ‘average discount’ includes promotions like the one illustrated in issue 76 of our newsletter, selling at 62 per cent off the basic price. Some of Cosmopolitan’s promotions sell at £12 – a 70 per cent discount.

Ten years ago, Cosmo was selling just 121 copies below 50 per cent.

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