In Blog / Trends

Obsessee: the real social-only magazine

09 May 2017

Speaking of followers, it hasn't had a real success yet, and maybe it will never have. But from the day it went live, about one year ago, Obsessee is a nice, tiny, case history in digital magazine world and is gaining a lot of attentions from insiders.

Ok. ...but, exactly, what Obsessee is? A social magazine focused on fashion, beauty, culture, social issues and speaking to Z generation, in particulars to girls from 14 to 22. A niche publication. With 2 unique features: it completely changed the way contents are shared, and it doesn't have a website (well, just a yellow home page with all its social medias displayed).

From a first sight, it seems not a big deal: but Obsessee can really change the rules. Actual standard editorial strategies are based on sharing contents via social media to readers with the aim of bringing them back on the website, the content hub, where they will interact with it and so generate a certain amount of analytics and KPIs: all these data will be used to sell spaces and similar and will determine the editorial success. Obsessee is totally different: social media are no longer channel, because they are the platform where readers experience contests and these very contents are create specifically for every platform, with a lifetime of a few hours.

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Quoting Obsessee’s editorial director Naomi Nevitt “Our stories feel like updates from a friend rather than traditional journalism because our content is created by and for our Gen Z community.”

Being a unique magazine, focus groups are integral part of daily workflow of the staff, along with tests about topic and tone of voice: the goal is to keep up with the audience, changing and developing day after day. You can say Obessee’ staff is a real laboratory where experiments are conducted on a daily basis to find out always new ways to engage Z Generation people through social media.

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So, what is Obsessee doing? Developing a new kind of conversation with its audience, in which people are not only commenting and sharing social posts but also suggesting trending topic though the tag of Obsessee itself, that will be able to look for fresh ideas every moment.

But manage this kind of activity is not simple at all because this is not an “average” staff: there 4 chief editors coordinating more than 50 young and very young contributors, who produce most of contents. The staff must always be on watch for cutting edge topics and, on the other side, have to get out with an original point of view to avoid drowning in generalist contents. Also, because of uniqueness of each social media, Obessee has not developed a scalable model for brands’ sponsorships yet, and so having hard time to optimize the process.

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Instead, the lack of an own content hub apparently is not a problem for now as the magazine trusts social media algorithms of distribution: searching for trending topics should be the right way to be sure about the maximum exposition possibile.

Obviously, for an editorial project like Obsessee data are everything. With an exception: for their own admission, data analyst of the magazine are finding problems in defining objectively the so-called “user” as audiences from the various platforms are not completely superimposable. This is causing a certain amount of randomness in determining the global reach of the whole activities. 

Nonetheless, the recent announcement of upgrade of the video production division seems to be the signal the market was waiting for: it means the Obsessee experiment is over and now it’s time to take it seriously.