Archive | May, 2009

Google Trends Continue Downward For Scrapbooking

It’s been nearly six months since the last Google Trends update at Scrapbook Update, so it’s time to take a look again and see what the search engine data has to say about scrapbooking’s popularity.

During the previous update, I noted the distinct worldwide downward trend in Google searches for the terms “scrapbook” and “scrapbooking”. That trend has continued in the past few months:

Google searches (the top sets of lines) definitely reached a peak in late 2006/early 2007. Searches for a term are generally considered a good reflection of consumer market interest in it, especially since many searches are shopping related.

The trend data for the “scrapbook” and “scrapbooking” search terms doesn’t look better if limited just to the U.S. searches:


So are “digital scrapbooking” searches replacing “scrapbooking” searches?

Digital scrapbooking search volume has actually been relatively stable (or even fallen in the past 6 months) worldwide, while “scrapbooking” searches have been falling. So it doesn’t appear that one type of search is replacing the other.


The same is true of searches in only the US for “digital scrapbooking”:


Essentially, searches for “scrapbooking”, “scrapbook” and “digital scrapbooking” have all decreased in the past 6 months. If this correlates to consumer market interest like would be expected, that’s not good news for the scrapbook market.


Industry Advertisers Discuss Changing Publications Market

The shutdown of so many scrapbook industry magazines in recent months (Digital Scrapbooking, Simple Scrapbooking, and Memory Makers) affects more than just editors and designers who work for those magazines. It also affects advertisers who use those publications as advertising outlets, and who must now search for a replacement method to use to get their message to consumers. Since many industry advertisers already use most or all of the scrapbook magazines as an advertising outlet, replacing the lost ad outlet is often not as simple as just picking a new publication to commit to buying ad space in.

Scrapbook Update solicited comment from some of the industry advertisers affected by the changing publications landscape in scrapbooking. Two advertisers in scrapbooking publications had very interesting viewpoints on what the closed publications mean for advertising. [Michaels Stores declined comment for this story.]

One of those advertisers is a scrapbook company: Online retailer Addicted to Scrapbooking is the largest non-newspaper scrapbook advertiser. SLR lens manufacturer Tamron, on the other hand, is from outside of the scrapbook industry but has a large advertising interest in scrapbookers because of their enthusiasm for photography. Despite their different perspectives from inside and outside the scrapbook market, both companies share strikingly similar visions of the future of scrapbook advertising.

If the advertising dollars displaced from the closed magazines migrate to other publications, the consolidation would strengthen those publications and the industry in general. David Kovanen, president of Addicted to Scrapbooking, sees such a consolidation as sorely needed in many areas of the industry :

Scrapbooking was in an unhealthy industry situation years ago. Our senior management discussed this back in 2006 and 2007. It was over-distributed in every possible way. There were over 400 online web sites selling scrapbooking supplies. It was obvious back then that a consolidation would occur. So we have been preparing and planning for this time now, and that has allowed us to not been shocked by what is happening.

The great risk that the scrapbooking industry faces is “implosion.” So many publications are on the edge of starvation, and so many companies are struggling that too many may fail all at once. That would be an unhealthy thing in the long run. What needs to happen is that everything needs to become “right sized.” A city may have seven scrapbooking stores. It would be bad if all of them failed in the same month. The better answer is that three of them survive and be strong and continue. But for this to happen, the weaker organizations need to recognize reality before the end so that they can preserve their capital while allowing
the stronger ones to continue.

Unfortunately, in the case of Tamron, their ad dollars from Memory Makers will not be moving elsewhere. Stacie Errera, the Chief Marketing Office of Tamron USA, told Scrapbook Update last week that her budget had been cut before Memory Makers was discontinued and space in Memory Makers was one of the cuts that had to be made. Cuts to overall marketing budgets such as Tamron’s are becoming widespead in all industries and are widely considered a secondary cause (along with the primary cause of a shift to internet content & advertising models) of the paper publishing industry’s ongoing collapse.

Addicted to Scrapbooking’s Kovanen says that their advertising budget is set as a percentage of their sales and so “The loss of one publication won’t affect our total advertising budget at all.” He notes that “We advertise in magazines as well as other media, both traditional and electronic. To be effective in advertising requires saturation, repetition, and targeting. So we are not dependent upon any specific channel, nor should we.” In fact, Kovanen points out that having fewer publications to cover to reach saturation coverage can have benefits for advertisers:

The closure of industry publications will mean change. Some organizations which are rigid in their thinking may see this as a negative, but it may also open doors for us as we are able to concentrate our message and diversify into new media. There were so many scrapbooking magazines that it was always difficult to get full coverage because like every organization, our budget is limited.

Kovanen’s mention of new media is echoed by Tamron’s Errera when she says the company will be focusing more in the future on pursuing the digital scrapbooking audience as a market for its camera gear: “…most of that will take place online outside of traditional scrap websites and magazines, e.g., advertising on software, fonts, kits, actions developers, blogs, etc. that cater to d-scrappers.” She goes on to say that Tamron is thinking far outside of print in its marketing efforts. “I am relying on different
ways to get to people–face to face events and workshops as well as online advert[is]ing and enewsletters.”

Food for thought: With the advent of new media advertising and fewer print publications, scrapbook advertising (and the industry as a whole) is changing fast. The history of Addicted to Rubber Stamps, a sister division of Addicted to Scrapbooking, may hold a lesson about the future path of scrapbooking. There are marked similarities now between the scrapbook market and the rubber stamp market of almost 10 years ago. That may sound scary but it doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, according to Kovanen:

We have been through this type of change in the past and understand it. Our “Addicted To Rubber Stamps” brand was in the great rubber stamping shake-out of 1999-2001. Back then, rubber stamping was as big as scrapbooking was and it had numerous dedicated publications. Today, there are no dedicated publications at all. Times change. But our Addicted To Rubber Stamps division does far better today than it did in 2001. It has adapted and evolved. It survived the shake-out and has a strong, loyal, smart customer base. And of course we continue to advertise Addicted To Rubber Stamps heavily via other channels.

Scrapbook Update would like to thank David Kovanen of Addicted to Scrapbooking and Stacie Errera of Tamron USA for sharing their thoughts on this important issue.


A Look At July/August 2009 Issue of Memory Makers

mm0809I got what will be the next-to-last issue of Memory Makers Magazine in the mail today, the July/August 2009 issue. A look through it is telling about the reason F+W Media pulled the plug on it – and also makes me really sad that the magazine is going.

A survey of the advertising in it shows that their advertising situation was little improved over previous issues – only 18% of the pages were paid advertising. They’d been hovering around 15% the past few issues, a long way from the 40% most of the publications need to be healthy. Addicted to Scrapbooking had bought four pages, a large advertising buy even for them, suggesting they’d been offered a discount to fill space. There just didn’t seem to be much upward trending in the magazine’s advertising sales, unfortunately, as has been the case for so many publications in so many industries recently.

What struck me the most, however, is the amazing quality of this issue, especially given that the editorial staff probably had to fill about 10 more pages than they would have if the magazine were financially healthy. The content is stellar and never feels like “filler” or “padding”.

This magazine had been steadily improving since it’s revamp in 2006. It has really achieved excellence with its last few issues. Unfortunately, it was too little too late for a publication competing in such a challenging and shifting marketplace.  It’s sad to see it go just when it really seems to have hit its stride.


CHA Shows in Top 200 US Trade Shows

Tradeshow Week has announced its list of the largest 200 trade shows in the US based on the 2008 shows, and both CHA shows made the list.


Out of the 14,000 shows held last year in the US, CHA-Winter 2008 ranked 82nd in size, and CHA-Summer 2008 ranked 197th in size. The largest annual show held in the U.S. this year was the massive triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG construction equipment manufacturer’s expo that was held in Las Vegas, and which was the largest trade show ever held in North America, with over 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space. (By comparison, CHA-Summer is planning 130,000 square feet of exhibit space.)

“Despite the troubled economy it is encouraging to see that the craft and hobby industry continues to understand and value both CHA tradeshows,” said Steve Berger, CEO, CHA.  “More importantly it’s a testament to the caliber of exhibitors, buyers, top-tier educators, and attendees that contribute to the successful craft and hobby marketplace we call the CHA Shows.”

Here’s an interesting note on the show location rankings: for 2008 shows, Chicago was the second most popular destination, hosting 20 of the top 200 shows. Orlando was the 3rd most popular destination, hosting 19 of the top 200 shows. Since the rankings were so close, CHA-Summer’s move from Chicago to Orlando in 2009 will be enough to flip-flop those standings next year and make Orlando #2 and Chicago #3 (assuming no other changes, of course).

The number one destination for shows in the US was (no surprise) Las Vegas, where the CHA-Winter show was last held in 2006. CHA-Winter is committed to the Anaheim Convention Center one more year, through 2010.

I’d love to hear opinions from Winter show attendees via comments or email about whether they would rather see that show stay in Anaheim after 2010 or return to Vegas or try another venue.


Memory Makers To Compensate Subscribers

Although no specific plan has been announced to execute the compensation yet, F+W president Sara Domville has told the Salt Lake City Scrapbooking Examiner in an email interview discussing the fate of the magazine that no subscribers would lose money from the magazine’s shutdown:

Our subscribers will be offered the opportunity to receive another magazine from our Company. But if they wish to have the balance of their subscription price refunded, we will have the procedure in place to do so.

F+W offers several dozen hobby and specialty magazines if Memory Makers subscribers decide to choose another title. Among the ones that might be of interest to Memory Makers subscribers are Family Tree, Antique Trader, Print, The Artist’s Magazine, Country’s Best Log Homes, and Watercolor Artist.


Paperclipping Newsbreak Episode 1 Now Available!

The audio version of the first episode of Paperclipping Newsbreak – the new scrapbooking news show hosted by Noell Hyman and me – is now available for listening to!

You can listen to it on the Paperclipping web page or use the link there to download the audio file or subscribe to it for free in iTunes.

Every Monday you can join in live and watch (and even ask questions) while we tape the show at 1pm EST/10am PST.  The taping can be viewed live by visiting a special area on the Paperclipping website.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for the taping yesterday and we look forward to doing it again next week!