We all have to face things outside of our control. It is the cold reality of life — and, unfortunately, death. The current situation with the COVID-19 is causing fear, anxiety and uncertainty for most everyone. And rightfully so.
The government regulations that have been implemented to minimize the spread of COVID-19 are also, unfortunately, affecting businesses in ways few people could have ever predicted. CITYVIEW depends on people coming together for events, concerts, food, drink, movies and more. And when it most all of it goes away at once, we are left with an immense challenge. As such, we made the difficult decision on March 24 to suspend the printing of CITYVIEW for two issues, and to then regroup and determine how to move forward starting with our June issue. Since that time, we have received hundreds of comments from readers and advertisers asking what they could do to help ensure that CITYVIEW not only returns but is here for the long haul. We have been touched by your generosity and loyalty.
With that in mind, we decided to move forward with this digital-only edition for the month of April. It has been emailed to our digital subscribers and is available for free to everyone on our website. I thank you all for helping to make this happen, and I hope you enjoy it and share it with others.
I have been asked if the digital-only version will be the future of CITYVIEW. I doubt it, and here’s why.
• Our print version has more than 86,000 monthly readers with 97 percent of the copies consistently picked up each month. Those are huge, verifiable numbers.
• Our website (www.dmcityview.com) has 22,803 unique monthly visitors, according to Google Analytics. Even so, many reports state that half of all website traffic is now fake (bots). That is concerning.
• We have 8,835 digital email subscribers with an open rate of 24 percent. Even the most successful email campaigns rarely exceed an open rate of 30 percent. That is also concerning.
• Our Facebook page has 9,924 likes and 10,394 followers. A Facebook business page would be outstanding if it had a 5 percent reach of its organic audience. That is a little-known fact that is maybe the most concerning.
So as you can see, the printed publication still rules. There is no doubt that readers want content on their phones. There is also no doubt that readers will go to great lengths to avoid receiving advertising in that format, which explains why digital advertising often struggles to provide measurable results in selling products or services. So if advertisers want results, if readers continue to seek out our publication, and if stores are physically open to carry our copies, we will be printing magazines — and hopefully again soon.
Now back to the subject on most everyone’s mind. I don’t take the health risks of COVID-19 lightly, and you shouldn’t either. There are no easy decisions to be made, and there will be fallout no matter what happens. We simply all must play with the cards we have been dealt and do what we feel is best while looking out for the well-being of ourselves and others, too.
You should follow the advice from the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus, and you should also continue to shop local in a smart manner. Please resist the temptation to buy on Amazon. Jeff Bezos will be just fine when this pandemic ends, but I am not so confident about many of our local businesses. Continue to find ways to buy from them. They need your support. We need your support.
Now take a much-needed break from all the coronavirus coverage and enjoy this month’s stories about the people and places that make Des Moines and central Iowa great. Be safe, be smart and be supportive. And, as always, thanks for reading. ♦