Global truths about consumers’ use of magazine media

Guy Consterdine, FIPP’s research consultant, finds that the way consumers use magazine media, and the effectiveness of the advertising, are much the same the world over, which means that countries with a shortage of research may legitimately quote studies from other countries when making the case for magazine media. Examples from Brazil’s Ipsos and Abril, plus Chile’s ANP illustrate the point. 
The ways in which consumers use magazine media, the attitudes consumers hold, and the effectiveness of the advertising which magazines carry, are much the same the world over. This is reinforced almost every time new research studies are published, anywhere across the globe. The argument sometimes put forward by media agencies or marketers that “It doesn’t apply here, my country is different” is shown to be unsound. 
This means that in the absence of local information it would be reasonable to quote research from other countries when putting forward the case for magazine media.
Two examples sent to me in recent months from South America illustrate the point.
Brazil: digital magazines
In Brazil the Digital Magazine Metrics Project, conducted by Ipsos in partnership with magazine publisher Abril and the CESAR institute, was the first published study in Brazil to examine in detail the usage, engagement and satisfactions provided by digital magazines. 
Most digital readers were using a combination of both print and digital editions, reading their chosen magazine in both formats. The devices in widest use for reading digital editions were notebooks and tablets, with desktop PCs and smartphones lagging behind. Just like with printed editions, readers of digital editions strongly agreed that the digital editions “give me knowledge to debate with others” and “helps me form an opinion”. The digital magazines were regarded with affection, and reading them was “a moment of choice”.
The advertisements in the digital editions were just as effective as the ads in the printed editions. 89 per cent of digital readers said they read the advertisements as well as the editorial content. 72 per cent have responded to ads seen in the digital edition. The most frequent ways of responding were seeking more information on the internet about the product/service advertised; becoming motivated to consider buying something they had not been considering; and discussing the ad and product with others. 15 per cent had bought something soon after reading the digital magazine, directly motivated by the ads.
There was a much higher preference for interactive ads (with movement, sound, video, games etc) than for static ads, although many had no preference.
The overall satisfaction with the digital editions was very high, and consequently there was a strong intention to continue reading digitally, particularly among those reading on a tablet.
The survey reported much more detail, but the general tenor of the findings was very consistent with those from other countries. The characteristics and power of magazines – including digital editions – are global.
An update on the situation in the USA will be given at the FIPP Research Forum on 16 & 17 June in Hamburg, in a paper by Mickey Galin of GfK MRI, who will show the latest data from Starch Digital on the value of tablet magazine advertising.
Chile: print magazine advertising effectiveness
On the other side of the Andes mountain range from Brazil, a study in Chile has investigated engagement in printed editions of magazines, and the impact on advertising effectiveness. Engaging Readers: magazine advertising effectiveness in the Chilean media market, was designed at the University of the Andes in Santiago, in collaboration with the Asociación Nacional de la Prensa Chile.
Here too the findings were in accord with those in other countries. For example, readers are very loyal to the magazines they choose. They dedicate a special time to read them. They make comments such as “It’s a me-time, a time to relax”, “It’s an infinite pleasure”, and “It is very easy to be transported by the stories and pictures in a magazine”.
The study concluded that “magazines are able to generate a series of experiences for the readers that have a positive impact on advertising effectiveness. Talking about and sharing the contents of a magazine, the feeling of belonging to a community, being inspired, and enjoying a timeout are important experiences positively related to how effective is the advertising in a magazine.”
Moreover readers found advertising in magazines is more entertaining than ads in newspapers and television. Ads in magazines have a lower rejection rate than ads in other media – in magazines ads are not seen as interruptions.
The authors of the project had previously studied the methods and results of research in the USA, an experience which led them to believe that “the results are universal to some extent” – my point exactly.
Many examples of this universality can be found in FIPP’s Proof of Performance: Making the case for magazine media (POP). This a compilation of research-based evidence from around the world about how consumers use magazine media, and the medium’s effectiveness for advertisers, which I wrote on behalf of FIPP, and which was published in 2012. It may be downloaded for free from, where a toolkit of complementary material can also be found.
In a wide range of countries, covering many different situations in the media market, and varied social scenes, the same conclusions emerge about magazines – about the way they are read, the targeting they achieve, and the influence they generate on the consumer’s purchase journey.
The recent findings from Brazil and Chile will both feature in POP2, the second edition of Proof of Performance: Making the case for magazine media (POP), which I am writing for FIPP for publication in the autumn of 2014.
A great deal of new research has been published in the two years since POP appeared, making the case for magazine media even more persuasive  – including much evidence about publishers’ digital platforms. I already have many new pieces of research to consider for inclusion in the second edition of POP but there must be many more out in the marketplace around the world of which I’m unaware, but which would be valuable to include. So I’d be glad to hear about recent research on magazine media in any country: please email me at
FIPP Research Forum and Research Awards in June
Another opportunity to learn about and discuss some major new studies will be the FIPP Research Forum and Awards on 16 & 17 June 2014 in Hamburg, Germany. The conference will be hosted at Gruner + Jahr’s modern offices. For the full programme, together with details of venue, hotel and how to register, visit  
The conference will include the Research Awards Dinner, at which the winners of the 2014 FIPP Research Awards will be announced. The judging is currently taking place, and has reached its final stage of assessing the shortlist. Further details here.

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