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Time Inc. property Real Simple tries out Facebook Messenger

Real Simple, a women?s interest magazine owned by Time Inc., is partnering with a leading mobile engagement platform to bring granular sections of content to Facebook Messenger users.

The collaboration with GameOn is aptly timed for the final days of the holiday season, and will bring consumers holiday gift guide advice, daily finds, and content delivery from Real Simple?s editorial staff and its archive. The magazine?s experiment with Facebook Messenger is the latest for both Time Inc. and other major publications? media departments in a time of shifting consumer tastes.

"There are many forms of interactions, from the synchronous real-time dialog to lean back long-form content; publishers are going to have to find ways to service individuals in every medium," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis & The Connected Marketer Institute. "Moreover, this method of service will not be relegated simply to publishers: every brand, every retailer, will need to learn how to 'publish; their content and create value through conversations."

Real Simple
Real Simple on Messenger is designed to meet two core audience needs: Gift Guide Helper and daily content delivery.

At any time, users can engage the Gift Guide Helper for help finding the ideal present for someone on their list. Real Simple on Messenger will ask a few basic questions, and return a group of the brand's gift guides based on their answers.

Also, the editorial team at Real Simple will deliver daily tips, tricks, gifts, and recipes to subscribers through Messenger, to give users a user-friendly avenue to access help for their holiday parties. 

GameOn originally made its initial forays into building chat technology for sports fans, and is now transferring its experience into publishing. 

"Interacting with our audience and having genuine two-way conversations gives us countless opportunities to highlight all of Real Simple's great editorial content that readers have come to depend on during the holiday season," said Regina Buckley, senior vice president of digital business development at Time Inc. "Finding new and efficient ways to serve our content, when and where the reader needs us, is the future of our digital strategy."

Editorial advancement
Pressured by a changing media environment and consolidation on all fronts, the publishing industry has been forced to be creative about finding alternate venues for content distribution. Time itself recently made waves in the world of virtual reality with the first-ever VR series chronicling a climb from the bottom of Mount Everest to the top, all of it streamed through the company?s LIFE VR mobile application (see story). 

And famed British world news and analysis magazine The Economist is moving towards channeling its hard-hitting journalism through a partnership with a global virtual reality network after widely broadcasting its dedication to fact-based analysis in the aftermath of the election (see story). 

"There is no question?in my mind at least?that 'conversational commerce' will be a trending and impactful addition to the marketer?s mix in 2017 and beyond," Mr. Becker said. "Facebook Messenger and other leading over-the-top social and white-labeled brand channels will lead individual (both in terms of consumption and shopping) brand engagements in 2017.

"'In addition, 'conversational marketing,' driven by deep individual insights, powered by machine learning, artificial intelligence and creative storytelling, will take root in 2017 and by 2020 will have forever transformed the face of marketing."