The Top 10 Most Influential Magazines Online

With their glossy color pages, easy to digest articles, and fun tidbits, magazines have always held a special place in the hearts of readers.  However, the digital revolution has put a dagger into the heart of the traditional publishing business model.

The 24-hour news cycle puts most periodicals behind the curve by the time they hit the newsstand.  As a result, many magazines have seen their circulation and ad revenues drop precipitously over the past decade.

In an effort to adapt to the changing landscape, most magazines have migrated their content online and many have embraced social media.

We wanted to find out if there was a correlation between a magazine’s circulation figures and its online influence. For example, does the top circulated magazine also have the top Klout score and follower count on Twitter?  Does high circulation always correlate to high influence?

We took a look at the top 10 consumer magazines (by single copy sale) and ranked them in order of Twitter influence. What we found were some pretty interesting statistics. Check out our findings in the table below.


Klout Score



1. PEOPLE 78 1,257,536 2,639,735
2. MEN’S HEALTH 78 399,283 373,610
3. IN STYLE 77 654,800 2,006,171
4. US WEEKLY 76 683,485 420,110
5. VANITY FAIR 72 405,605 228,435
6. REAL SIMPLE 71 395,344 212,760
7. VOGUE 71 369,489 419,019
8. GLAMOUR 69 521,213 74,543
9. COSMOPOLITAN 68 1,566,658 107,858
10. O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE 67 608,212 157,399


There is little correlation between the circulation rate and Twitter followers.  It quickly becomes apparent that how you use social media matters much more than how big your offline database is.

  • People Magazine’s Twitter follower count, for example, is double its circulation total.
  • Cosmopolitan, which has the highest circulation figure on the list, has 93% fewer Twitter followers.
  • Publications that cater to a niche audience can thrive online. Look at the example of Men’s Health, which has a much smaller circulation and caters to a niche audience of male fitness enthusiasts, yet boasts the same level of online influence as the very mainstream and very popular People magazine.
  • Personality wins. While Oprah Winfrey’s personal account has 6,564,906 followers and a Klout score of 77, her magazine has less than a tenth of her followers, and a Klout score ten points lower.

While this has been a trying decade for print media, the rapid adoption rate of tablet computers and the emergence of magazine eReaders like Zinio and Flipboard will help to strengthen the relevance and influence that magazines have in the digital world.

Fluency Media has years of experience crafting online marketing campaigns for a wide range of businesses. If you would like to see how your company’s social media presence stacks up against the competition, request a complimentary competitive digital marketing report.