Inside Fairfax’s Allure Media: Global outlook attracting brand partners

From Business Insider to PopSugar: ‘We call people that are consuming our content global insiders.’

The Fairfax Media-owned Allure Media stays under the radar to some extent, especially with mainstream media coverage. However, savvy brands and their marketers seek out the mix of business, tech and women’s sites for its attractive audiences and the business solutions it offers.

To give Mediaweek an overview of the business we went to Allure Media national sales and operations director Aaron Macarthur.

Joining Allure from News Corp late last year where he was a group sales director, Macarthur has been with Allure for just over six months. Prior to News he was in sales at Southern Cross Austereo.

Macarthur told Mediaweek: “We have global brands with local voices that cater for an audience that wants to understand things beyond our borders.”

He sees the global links as important attractions for both audiences and advertisers. “50% of Aussies were born overseas or have a parent that was born overseas.”

Macarthur says the Allure brands all operate influential sites. “We are the place our audiences turn to when they want advice, a credible voice and specialist knowledge.

“We offer premium content and destination sites. We create content of consequence and value that has a much more powerful connection with the audience.”

It’s a story it also pushes out to advertisers: “We have a partnership model with clients. Allure offers high service and all access to our businesses to solve their business problems.”

One of the interesting digital publishing plays in Australia over the past decade has been the success of Allure Media. The company was originally launched by former editor Chris Janz, who later oversaw the sale to Fairfax Media in 2015. (Janz now works for Fairfax Media as managing director, Australian Metro Publishing.)

While Allure and Fairfax Media share some backend functions, Allure runs as a separate business. Although its audience numbers are strong, Allure is a niche publisher compared to its parent.

Macarthur told Mediaweek that Allure operates in three content areas – business, tech and women’s.

Business Insider

The brand that drives the business sector is Business Insider (BI), which Macarthur labelled a superstar performer.

“It attracts a very unique audience with 46% of it female. Compared to the rest of our competitive set, that makes it a very unique offering. Looking at some other financial publishers, you might think of them attracting more middle-aged men in suits.

“Something that is important for the BI audience is that Allure has a very global lens on our business. People who are serious about business in Australia like our global outlook. Major influences on our economy now flow through from global markets and we have people working on international desks that select content for us.

“The world is now more connected than ever and it really helps for us to have a global brand with local voices.”

Business Insider is a global brand that launched over a decade ago as a digital-first publisher and it has never had a print product.

“The content is very short, sharp and concise. It can simplify quite complex issues in business, putting them into a format that users can consume quickly, but still understand what it all means.”

For commercial opportunities at BI and other Allure brands, Macarthur said they have labelled it a partnership model.

“As a publishing industry, there does tend to be an obsession with scale. What we drive is our partnership model and talk about influencer and outcomes. We look at a business problem an advertiser may have and we will offer things we may have in editorial, data or creatively that could help. We plan how we could attack that through a campaign.”

Allure’s tech trio

Gizmodo is the flagship brand in the tech division.

Macarthur noted the tech brand in Australia now features an all-female editorial team. Rae Johnston is the recently appointed Gizmodo editor. Macarthur: “The cliché of only having a white, geeky male team is dead now. We are trying to evolve what is a predominantly male audience to include more females.”

The other tech brands in Allure are Lifehacker and Kotaku.

“The site is about how people live their life better with tech. We have a lot of evergreen content on the site for the growing audience.”

“[Kotaku] is very game focused and esports are becoming very important on the site and for our audiences.”

Women’s superstar PopSugar

Macarthur: “PopSugar is the superstar here with a key target of women 25-54. It is all about lifestyle, fashion, beauty, shopping and entertainment. We are careful to note that we are fans, not critics, when we talk about content. There is certainly a celebrity angle to the site but reported in a very positive way.

“Editor Alison Rice does some nice editorial pieces around a topic of ‘no change, no future’. It links in with the #MeToo movement and empowers women to be a positive voice in this space.”

Four other brands make up the women’s lifestyle category.

“Who What Where is all about fashion and style and comes with a big ecommerce play.

“Byrdie meanwhile takes a holistic approach to beauty and MyDomaine gives people ideas how to improve their everyday life.

“These three sites operate together as niche communities to build our women’s network.”

A newer arrival that also sits within the women’s lifestyle umbrella is Kin Community.

Macarthur called it a media entertainment company that inspires millennial women to create the life they want.

“We create custom video content (with native brand integration) featuring Kin creators. We have 12 creators including Canna Campbell, Tina Yong and Erin Henry.

“Content has a cross-platform play. Social channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Our YouTube audience engagement is four times higher than average. The Facebook audience is four times more likely to comment and eight times more likely to share.”

Allure revenues

“A lot of what works for us is the partnership model. Advertisers are more interested in our breadth of content. We are not for everyone, but our partners understand the brand, our audiences and the passion points that we connect with. Being able to align the content and the access to our business really drives the results, and the revenue follows.”

Macarthur said the Allure sales team sells across all its brands. “Where we do specialise is from a commercial editorial perspective. Each editorial group has a commercial editor on the team.”

Allure is always looking for growth opportunities, carefully looking who it might partner with.

All of the Allure brands are international brands and it licenses the brands for Australia. “We call people that are consuming our content global insiders. We have an audience that has a passion to really understand what is happening beyond our borders.” Allure also refers to the audience as Alpha influencers. “They feel like they are experts in their passion points, which they come to us to consume.”

Allure labels its collection of brands as “sites of substance”, better than others that offer what Macarthur called lightweight sugar hits. “We really see ourselves as sites with substance. We value time and engagement of audience. We bring our partners on board to connect with those audiences.”

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