Our magazine is a network for sharing ideas, supporting small businesses and providing a listing site for real estate and boats so that people with property valued under €500,000 have a place to showcase these assets.
A Year of Growth #
When January began, we had a soft launch of the digital magazine after almost a year of preparation. Affordable Mallorca is a custom-designed online magazine with a few features in the back-end that organize our content for our readers and our advertisers. While we are in the early stages of the property site, this management of data is central to our long-term vision of helping people learn more about the intricacies of living on the island, resources and gifts of specific areas and why you may want to live in one area over another.
At its essence, our magazine is a tool for residents and frequent tourists, for small business owners and for real estate agents. We offer details that you might not find otherwise. Our articles are focused on showing how to authentically live on Mallorca. Several lifestyle publications show the luxury living on the coast. We show life in areas that are lesser-known and the special people who make the island better.
We embarked on the year to test our ideas by launching projects and refining strategies to build an audience for the Affordable Brand.
A Few Touchstones For The Year #
As we opened the year, our team created Complete Guides to living in villages and neighborhoods. If you go to the search icon at the top of the homepage and type in the name of the village or town, you will see a list of articles related to that place. We have #UltimateGuides on the homepage of the magazine where you can find Guides that cover major topics like relocation, pets and work.
In March, we moved into our office on Ca’n Danus off Plaza Mercat. This puts us in touch with central Palma, close to the bus and train stations. While we can walk almost anywhere in town, the airport is an easy 10-minute ride.
By May, Holly joined us as Director of Client Solutions. We are not a traditional news and media outlet. Our goal is to enhance our client’s outreach by using the innovations of digital technologies. Because we offer only digital outreach, teaching small businesses and advertisers about our services requires a patient person and Holly has just what it takes. She’s moved to the island almost 20 years ago after marrying a Mallorquin (and his family) then raising their two boys here. She speaks English and Spanish.
Our Commitment to Mallorca's Community #
Because of our strong commitment to community development, we selected three main issues that affect the standard of living on the island:
- Sea degradation
- Abandoned dogs and cats
Our choices for the most active and accessible in these areas: Save the Med, ARCA Patrimoni and Baldea. Over the next year, we look forward to sponsoring events and providing you with more details about how you can participate in helping our community work.
PechaKucha Palma de Mallorca #
Affordable Mallorca sponsored the BEST PECHAKUCHA PALMA Vol. 1. Directed and produced by Rosalinda Much, the nine presenters – all extraordinary in their fields with tremendous experience, graciously gave their time and efforts to show us a taste of the creative class in Palma. We hope to join forces again as this type of event brings together expats and native-born for a truly Mallorquin experience. For more, check out www.pechakuchapalma.com. To watch, click videos of the presenters >>>
Created An Independent Ad Channel #
Over the summer of 2019, we disconnected from all third-party advertising platforms in order to strengthen our brand for Mallorca. Have you ever noticed how you land on a newspaper or magazine site then see ads that take you to parts unknown. Then, mysteriously, your email fills up with special offers and you have screens full of ads from third-party marketers?
After careful design, we have an advertising platform that puts us in control of who and what is on our website. We have affordable pricing to help support local businesses who want to reach our readership.
What I learned in developing this magazine? Google lies. They are great at organizing information so that we all have a virtual library and yellow-pages at our fingertips. The downside to the "site scraping" is they use all that data to sell your details. This is why the EU has embarked on carefully crafted legislation to protect consumers.You can not truly limit the geo-targeted area of advertisers on your website, digital newspaper or magazine. Nor can you limit the way Google targets your readership.
We are now effectively a completely closed eco-system. While Google Analytics monitors traffic, no third-party is selling that data. This has a potential challenge in that we now have to drive advertising like a traditional print magazine, with a sales team and back office staff. We are dependent on small and mid-size businesses valuing our platform as a place to invest their hard-earned advertising funds.
The upside is that we control 100% of our magazine content and ads, thereby creating a safe environment for all ages, focused only on Mallorca. As we expand our Affordable Brand to other markets, we will maintain this ad channel to be used for local ads, maintaining 100% control and 100% of the ad revenue.
This might get tricky since local advertisers do not see us or digital media as a viable advertising media. However, the reality is that digital media reaches both local and foreign markets with much better efficiency - and depth - than print. Hands down. I’m betting that our long-term strength will be in creating a central place for our information to reach expats and residents. This means our advertisers will also have this tool to connect. And because we have created a “closed loop system,” our readers will never be spammed. Ever. When you click the “Accept Cookies” message on the homepage, that simply allows us to comply with the EU Data Regulations. We do not capture any personal details and never ask for any identification numbers so you are 100% safe and protected when reading our content.
Boosts in Testing Methods to Promote Events and Articles #
As we moved into Autumn, we hit a high of 24,000 unique visitors to our magazine. Guided by our Editor, each of our writers offers her own style while maintaining our family-friendly standards. Your 10-year old can read our magazine and watch the videos while our senior readers are equally as captivated.
We had the great fortune of trending #1 on Google for searches about the European Hot Air Balloon Championships. We began our coverage prior to the event, sent Vincent to film and Adele, our Social Media Manager, shared daily updates on schedule changes due to weather on our Instagram account. All of this showed how we can coordinate special event promotions, capture visibility and support sponsors to generate real returns for their investment in advertising and marketing.
The reason we are working hard to develop an online magazine serving a local market is that we believe digital publishing is ready for a Version 2.0. The first generation of digital media created a wire frame that helps aggregate data and disseminate to an internet-accessible audience. However, paying for this has been a challenge for the publishers since users inherently do not like to pay for content and/or do not have the disposable funds to throw at every publication. The downside for readers is a page that is filled with Google ads or third-party marketers that creates eye-fatigue. The result, we have learned to read over the ads - tuning out the way we all pay the bills.
Over the next year, we will continue to refine our strategies to connect readers to small businesses and service providers with three goals in mind:
Who is our audience? #
While we do not track individual readers and we never spam or sell our analytics to third-party advertisers, as mentioned above, we do have Google Analytics to show us geo-locations and preferences. We want to know what people like to read and our advertisers want to know where people are from. Mallorca has over 20 million visitors a year - by air and sea, with 850,000+ residents from over 128 countries. This is a major market for international readership. This is also a destination market with over a hundred of feeder markets.
Because our readers are online and we can see general preferences, we know that our readers have the following characteristics:
- possess an interest in international travel
- connections to Mallorca - self or relative living part-time or full-time
- 65% female overall with certain articles at 50:50 male/female
- Age 24-65+ with 18-24 yo at over 2.2%
- 40%+ of our readers are Spanish – yes, we are English-only at the moment but we plan to add Spanish-language preferences to the site for those people not familiar with how to navigate Google Translator.
- Affordable Mallorca is read in most countries around the world. Predictably, after Spain, we are read most in the UK and the USA.
However, my surprise came when I counted the countries where we have no data on readers. Our map shows ONLY 17 countries without reader engagement.
Crowdsourcing Fun #
The best result of our efforts is engagement with our readers. We were sent questions, ideas and great photos on many of our articles. When we added a suggestion to grab your Go Pro and send us a video or photo at the end of the Giant Jellyfish Spotted Off the Mallorcan Coast article, a reader sent us a clip that we added at the end of the piece. That happened over and over, on various articles. This reciprocity is what gives energy to our work.
Through our promotion of the European Hot Air Balloon Championships, we tested engagement of local audiences, people who want to have fun. We promoted the event on our Instagram and Facebook feeds to connect with people all over the island through our daily photos, videos and posts. We have so many extraordinary photos - hard to select just a few but we'll have to for this article. If you want to see more, let us know.
In November, we had our First Photo Contest for the Light Show at the Cathedral when the sun shines through the stained glass to reveal an infinity of light. Here is the winning photo – creative.
In December, we sponsored a second Photo Contest for Christmas Lights with winner treated to lunch at Santosha. People took photos of Christmas lights around Palma. Next year, we will be covering the entire island as Pollença, Andratx, and Valldemossa/Deía have beautiful holiday lights.
Carolina Roselló Baidez
Vital Statistics #
On Facebook, we reached over 257,000 people in December. We posted a Christmas video for our website and had over 56,600 people watch, 1.2k shares with over 100 comments in less than 30 days. We can now post ads on Facebook for our clients and drive traffic for them. If an advertiser uses video content, the reach is 60%+ greater.
On Google, we had 170.8k page views on 350+ articles with over 111,000 users. We will continue to explore ways to reach our audience and carry insights on lifestyle options for the island and beyond. In the end, we are all about finding ways to live an extraordinary life, knowing value is more than just the value of money. We are a new magazine and still have plenty of growth to do.
Next Year, we look forward to more engagement with our audience. While we will continue our support of our non-profit partners, we are interested to know who you support in your efforts to help make Mallorca a better place to live, work and play. Check out our daily Instagram and Facebook posts for inspiration along the way.
Looking Back at 2019 #
When I look back for why I founded this online magazine, the goal was to connect expats and locals to lesser-known villages, local foods found off the beaten path, people living here who are doing extraordinary work and unique happenings that can only be experienced here on the Mallorca. Our Editor guides our writers to distill the essence of this unique and diverse island. Get off the beaten path and away from the hype of luxury, coastal living, this place is hands-down better than any other place in the world.
A few of my favorite stories – The Vulture Sanctuary article and video shows the cons of tourism and development. Reading about Christer Södenberg, I know that change agents live among us. When I read the Ultimate Guide Sustainable Living, I see the extraordinary government and citizen activists leadership for managing future growth which puts the island ahead of COP Paris targets. The carob and olive articles – all our food articles – remind me that we can eat local and well.
Next, we need to help those less fortunate here on the island. We have a gap between those with and those without means to live comfortably.
Moving Forward into 2020 #
We will continue to showcase all issues that affect living on Mallorca - including the not-so-pretty. Our article, Confessions by a Female Alcoholic continues to be read and shared. The ongoing crisis of addiction is not simply a matter for others to cover but a healthy community cares about all aspects of living.
We will also continue to show the places, people and issues most in need of volunteers and community support. For a directory of charities, read this >> Directory of Charities on Mallorca. If you want to volunteer, check out this >> Charities and Volunteering on Mallorca. Please send your ideas, issues you see that need to be magnified so that we can help make our island a place to call "Home."
Watching our videos, seeing our daily Instagram posts, reading our articles and our reader’s comments – all this gives me a feeling of being here, even when I’m traveling. This island has a history that spans Millenia and I’ve only been here since the mid-1980s. I have seen progress made in the infrastructure after the creation of the EU with road, water and sewer improvements that support a larger residential community. With these upgrades, we also have a vast change on the island with ravages of mass tourism that has brought a lack of affordability in housing and food. The gap between those with and those without can be helped if we band together to support one another.
Our Property Listing site has a few features that are being enhanced. Each article has a map feature to show exactly where on the island the topic is happening. These articles interlink with our property listings to show an interactive map of all places on the island, not just the most popular. Many of us prefer to live slightly off-the-beaten path yet want to know what's happening around us and how the value of our investment can be preserved.
This is why we also offer a secure (closed network) document storage facility for properties. Here, documents such as Escrituras, surveys, cadastre details and other relevant data can be shared between users. Take a look in Living Here on the Homepage, then click on Sell with Us. More on this in the coming months.
Over the next year, join us as we explore "The Real Mallorca." We have much to see and do in 2020. Let’s keep showing each other the best of Mallorca and where we can focus of efforts to improve conditions for those less fortunate so that we can be happy.
At the heart of this venture is our Editor, my business partner and friend, Ulla Rahn-Huber, who makes sure that we stay true to our vision. I often call her our "North Star" as she has experience and wisdom that keeps us deeply rooted in our vision toward an inclusive and accessible magazine.
Thank you for being with us in 2019. I look forward to hearing from you in 2020.
By Memphis Holland
31 December, 2019