“We’ve been underestimated for some time,” says MPA boss Mary Ann Azer

MPA boss Mary Ann Azer talks about the role of magazines in the marketing mix

By Sally Rawsthorne

A landmark Nielsen survey has confirmed what Magazine Publishers of Australia boss Mary Ann Azer has long believed – that magazine advertising is cost effective and delivers strong ROI for advertisers.

Australia’s primary magazine association commissioned the study, based on econometric modelling across three FCMG brands. Unlike previous work done in this area, the data for the study was weekly, not the more commonly used monthly data.

“The way it works is that it takes weekly data as an input. Normally readership data is monthly, so research companies would typically take that data and divide it evenly between the weeks contained in that month. It was very chunky, and what we suspected when we undertook the survey was that monthly data wasn’t suitable for weekly modelling,” Azer told Mediaweek.

The results derived from the new MAPP tool (Magazine Audience Performance Predictor) reveal magazines’ true ROI. “The ROI across those three brands moved from .34 to .9, from the lowest to the highest. That was very significant,” Azer said. Magazines’ contribution to purchase also improved from 10% to 23%, and when combined with television the ROI improved 18% when using weekly data.

Azer said the consequences for brands and the place of magazines in the marketing mix would be profound. “[The study] confirms that magazines are delivering the sales. It allows magazine publishers to go to the market and talk about this ROI that will be delivered. There might not be the reach or the circulation there because the numbers are dropping, but we still have the sales case, which is far more important for a marketer. At the end of the day, it’s a profit business.

“There’s definitely a point around magazines’ role in the marketing mix. We’ve been underestimated for quite some time especially when compared with outdoor advertising. Of course every brand is different, but the aggregate of those three brands [used in the study] shows that out-of-home advertising has a much lower ROI. It’s not just this Nielsen study that proves this – there have been a dozen studies between the UK and Australia that show that taking more granular data proves that the ROI jumps significantly for brands,” Azer added.

To hammer this point home, the association will soon roll out a campaign highlighting the value of magazine advertising across the industry, as well as continuing to educate the people buying ad space. “We are starting to go out to the market and talk about the power of the magazine brand, whether that’s in print or across social or digital. We are now including the MAPP case study, and will present it to most of the agencies.”

The impact for research companies is also significant. “Now, they are going to use weekly rather than monthly data. Nielsen recently said that they won’t be using monthly readership data for magazine from now on.”

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