Harper’s Bazaar Gets September Issue Buzz Online

By Steve Smith
09/02/2009

The famously important September issues of fashion books are struggling this year, but some titles may be able to recapture that seasonal mojo online. Harper’s Bazaar reports that its August audience expanded to 2 million users—the increase represents meteoric growth for the brand. According to min’s Digital Boxscores, June traffic to the site was under 300,000 users, with year-over-year growth of 44%.

Ironically, the most popular features for this fashion site involved atypical topics: a pictorial of supermodels without makeup  and a makeover for U.K. amateur singer Susan Boyle.

Publishers Information Bureau figures show revenue declines of 20% and up for most of the major fashion books this year as September issues came in unfashionably skinny. Hearst’s title benefited this month from the supermodel portfolio and the Susan Boyle makeover, which the media reported on widely.

Whether the site is effectively monetizing that newfound popularity is less clear, however. With the exception of a rich media unit for an online retailer and an ad for Saks, almost all of the static and video inventory on the magazine’s Web site pages are filled by in-house promotions or post-search text ads from third-party network Chitika. In the past month, however, both Neiman Marcus and Burberry have run campaigns on the site.