How Hello! rode a wave of interest in royalty and Brit celebs to crack America

Hello! won in the Best Launch/Relaunch of the Year category at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022 for its US launch. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project...

Hello! is an established magazine brand in the United Kingdom, but its publishers saw an untapped opportunity in US audiences’ fascination with the British royal family and UK celebrity culture. Its efforts to travel across the Atlantic were a resounding success.

The brief

Hello! is a market-leading lifestyle and celebrity publisher and its positive and celebratory lifestyle, royal and showbiz content has been entertaining audiences in the UK for 34 years.

Over the years, its digital brand has transformed from a small legacy publishing site into the most powerful part of the business.

Between 2016 and 2020, its yearly audience grew from 68 million unique global users to 225 million (an increase of 230%). By the end of 2020, 13 million of its 39 million unique monthly users were from the USA, meaning it was time to launch a US business.

Following increased audiences from America during the pandemic who were reading Hello!’s trademark positive stories about the British royal Family and expanded TV and film coverage, the decision was taken to launch a US product.

The idea

Hello! charged a small team of four writers, in co-operation with its commercial department, to utilize keywords and data-led editorial direction to create US-specific content. As well as exporting the mag’s approach to British celebrities and figures of interest, it took its tone and perspective on fame to American celebs.

That culminated in the second annual Hello! Kind List, celebrating World Kindness Day in the US as well as the UK, which featured a huge array of US talent, recognized for generous and thoughtful acts. The 2021 list included Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Michelle Obama, Hugh Jackman, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson and Sofia Vergara.

The results

Having achieved 15 million US unique visitors to its coverage by February 2021, this rose to 22 million by August. Success in the US meant 75.6 million total US unique visitors across the brand in 2020 became a staggering 140.4 million by last December, driving 577m page views in the year.

ComScore figures show Hello!’s new product is now outperforming publications in the US such as InStyle.com and Elle.com, and it has incumbent entertainment titles like People and Us Weekly in its sights – all with an editorial team of four.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022. You can read more about our winners here. And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.