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Magazines show the highest return on advertising spend

At the Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement 2016 conference, Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) presented a study on return on advertising spend (ROAS) that showed magazines deliver the highest return, with an average return of US$3.94 for every dollar spent on advertising. According to the study “Yes, Advertising Works. Now, What’s My ROAS Across Media Platforms?” the next closest media platform is display advertising with a ROAS of $2.63.

“Over the past year, there has been a preponderance of evidence to prove the effectiveness of print advertising and the power of magazine media to both tell and sell,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, president and chief executive officer of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.  “By generating benchmarks that allow marketers to compare the return they should expect from every media dollar, the study clearly shows that every media buy would benefit from the addition of print advertising.”

ROAS - All studies - Across all media (NCS)

ROAS - all studies, across all media

To understand the average return on advertising spend (ROAS) and sales productivity metrics across media type, NCS, over the course of eleven years (from 2004-2015), analysed nearly 1,400 campaigns across 450 brands from seven popular categories: baby, pet, health and beauty, general merchandise, food, beverage and over-the-counter (OTC). The NCS data set integrates 90 million households of in-store purchase data, a subset of Catalina’s data warehouse, with each of the media platforms in a single source to determine the incremental sales impact of advertising.

Britta Cleveland, SVP, Research Solutions, Meredith Corporation adds, “In addition to the MPA’s successful industry-wide Print Magazine Sales Guarantee and more than 60 studies completed at Meredith Corporation since we launched our sales guarantee program in 2012, we now have insight into nearly 1,400 of NCS’s campaigns that indicate magazines have the strongest return on advertising spend of all media.”

The cross-platform norms announced today complement a new methodology introduced earlier this year that reconciles different medium-specific measurement models, and the impact that secondary print magazine audiences (pass-along) have on sales. This new approach provides the ability to measure cross-media impact and captures print magazines’ total audience allowing publishers to accurately compare print magazines’ contribution to sales versus other media.  With this new method of measurement defined, NCS accessed data from major publishing companies including Time Inc. and Meredith to measure secondary impact of past campaigns to help inform the norms.

ROAS Summary - 3 key metrics - across all media (NCS)

ROAS summary - 3 key metrics across all media

“Time Inc. applauds and supports the efforts that NCS has undertaken to include magazines in their launch of cross-platform norms,” said Caryn Klein, vice president of research and insights, Time Inc.  “With the inclusion of secondary audience impact, it now places print on an equal playing field with other media and we can unequivocally prove the importance of including print in the mix given the strong ROAS that it provides for our marketing partners.”

Download the NCS study presentation.

MPA, Meredith and Time Inc. are members of FIPP.

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