Twitter Magazine Index (Canada)

This first-ever Twitter Magazine Index ranks 35 English-language Canadian publications by the number of Twitter followers they command. It was compiled on July 23, 2012.

The Twitter Magazine Index was created in an effort to understand the relative reach of current Canadian magazine brands within the Twitter community. Commentary follows the chart.

Rank Publication Twitter handle Followers
1 FASHION Magazine @fashioncanada 352,079
2 Today’s Parent @todaysparent 324,234
3 Best Health @besthealthmag 147,418
4 The Hockey News @thehockeynews 91,659
5 Toronto Life @toronto_life 52,390
6 The Grid @thegridto 44,003
7 NOW @nowtoronto 43,820
8 Adbusters @adbusters 41,952
9 Style at Home @styleathome 33,891
10 Canadian House & Home @houseandhome 33,463
11 Flare @flarefashion 27,500
12 The Walrus @walrusmagazine 27,291
13 Maclean’s @macleansmag 26,113
14 Spacing @spacing 20,355
15 Elle Canada @ellecanada 19,423
16 Vancouver Magazine @vanmag_com 17,412
17 Azure Magazine @azuremagazine 15,197
18 LOULOU (English) @louloumagazine 14,281
19 Avenue Calgary @avenuemagazine 14,129
20 Canadian Living @canadian_living 13,965
21 Chatelaine @chatelainemag 13,572
22 Weddingbells @weddingbellsmag 11,953
23 Exclaim! @exclaimdotca 10,582
24 UPPERCASE Magazine @uppercasemag 10,228
25 Quill & Quire @quillandquire 9,506
26 Momentum Magazine @momentummag 8,596
27 Financial Post Magazine @financialpost 7,950
28 This Magazine @thismagazine 7,880
29 Canadian Family @canadianfamily 7,615
30 Canadian Business @cdnbusinessmag 7,595
31 Golf Canada @thegolfcanada 6,911
32 Geist @geistmagazine 6,686
33 Avenue Edmonton @avenueedmonton 6,602
34 MoneySense @moneysensemag 6,502
35 Maisonneuve Magazine @maisonneuvemag 4,890

COMMENTARY

This ranking attempts to understand the reach of any brand within the Twitter audience. The list makes no claims on the quality of a magazine’s Twitter feed, just as circulation and readership numbers for print magazines do not always directly correlate to the quality of a given title. I’ve created a version of this Index as a Twitter list (compiling current tweets and activity) for those interested in making more qualitative judgements.

FASHION Magazine has long held the crown for largest Twitter following when ranked against other Canadian magazines. That team found great success as an early adopter of the platform and continue to be quite active.

Still, I would not be surprised to see Today’s Parent at the top of this ranking in the near future: Over the past few months they’ve been gaining new followers at a much faster rate than FASHION.

As early adopters, FASHION Magazine and Best Health were selected by Twitter’s own staff (with no involvement from the publications) to appear in a list of “suggested people to follow” that was displayed to new users in Canada who signed up for the service. This allowed both titles to gain substantial initial followings and speaks to the benefits of being first to market. (I cannot say whether this was the case with Today’s Parent, though given their numbers, likely.)

There’s a steep drop-off between a handful of titles at the top and the remainder of this list.

Let’s review the placement of some of Canada’s most-read magazines: Two traditional big players with national print readership of well over two-million copies per issue are nowhere to be found. Reader’s Digest Canada has an anemic 1,167 followers while Canadian Geographic fares only slightly better at 2,435. Neither have enough followers to place in this top 35 ranking.

Other widely-read magazines with relatively undersized followings include Canadian Living (#20) and Chatelaine (#21). Considering the average citizen’s general awareness of these brands–and the growing use of Twitter among Canadians–I would have expected to see both in at least the upper half of this list.

A number of less well-read publications find themselves near the top of this ranking. By building audience through Twitter, these magazines are able to punch above their weight and widely extend their brand reach. (Whether this strategy leads to increased subscriptions, newsstand or ad sales remains to be seen.)

GROUPINGS

Similar magazines find themselves clustered in this list. Toronto city publications Toronto Life, The Grid, and NOW occupy places #5, #6 and #7, with almost the same number of followers. I was surprised how high these regional magazines placed against national titles. (Does this indicate wider Twitter use in Toronto than the rest of Canada? Or simply smart strategy from these teams?)

Interestingly, their national policy and politics rivals The Walrus (#12), Maclean’s (#13) and Spacing (#14) are also grouped together slightly further down the list, each with about half the followers of the Toronto media titles.

Two shelter magazines–Style at Home and Canadian House & Home–find themselves in places #9 and #10 with barely a 1% difference separating their Twitter reach.

It’s hard to pinpoint why these groupings exist. We can only speculate as to whether this is simple coincidence, or perhaps owing to a similar brand-building approach among these titles, intense rivalries, or that the material they publish captivates a fixed-sized group within the Twitter community.

EDITORS ON TWITTER

There are numerous cases where an individual editorial staffer at a publication commands a Twitter following that rivals or exceeds that of the magazine they work for. Lisa Tant, publisher of Hello! Canada, former Flare editor and relentless tweeter, has 16,879 followers. Ranked individually, she would place 17th overall in this magazine index, well above many established titles, with more than three times the reach of the 4,826 followers of the Hello! Canada brand she now oversees.

What sort of shift this represents in how we’ll see Twitter used–a change from engaging with traditional brands to connecting to individual talent–is an open question. Exactly what staffers are allowed to Tweet on their personal accounts is increasingly a matter of corporate policy. Legal disclaimers that “these tweets are my own” are more and more commonplace. There have certainly been cases when a magazine’s staff are asked to promote the brand’s messages through their personal networks, raising the question of who exactly has final say over what an individual may Tweet.

As Twitter followings grow ever larger, will employers someday offer bonuses to staff who oversee large (and potentially accessible) Twitter followings? Will this someday be a consideration in hiring negotiations?

FINALLY…

This list was compiled based on available data. If you believe the data reported for your magazine is incorrect or if your title is missing from this list, please contact me.

Update: Thank you to the many individuals who have already contacted me with corrections and omissions. Missing titles have been added and I’ve extended the list by 5. This is now a ranking of the top 35 Canadian magazines on Twitter.