MPA getting closer to digital magazine ad standards
Magazine publishers have found new fans for their content on tablets and e-readers, says AdAge, but will they ever be able to get advertisers to give them the same commitment?
In the three years since consumers got their hands on Apple’s first iPads, magazines have been preparing their content for the new tablets and their competitors. Publishers saw in them an opportunity to reverse the practice of devalued subscription prices and up-sell advertisers to interactive ads.
While there’s been progress on the first front, it’s been hard to sell advertisers on the platform because digital circulation is still relatively small (accounting for less than three per cent of total circulation), and there’s no standard for measuring readership.
The ball got rolling a year ago when MPA—The Association of Magazine Media asked publishers to adopt voluntary guidelines for reporting tablet audience data. They would include data like total number of digital issues sold, readers per-issue and time spent reading an issue.
Still, the goal of independently certified metrics was daunting. With all the different devices and measurement firms, the resulting numbers are a hodgepodge that defy easy comparisons. Publishers don’t all sell their digital editions to consumers and advertisers the same way, and some of them are still reluctant to give ad buyers all the data they want (particularly if publishers are going to charge them for digital copies) because the numbers are often small. “It’s the lack of consistent measurements that makes it really, really challenging,” said Gregg Hano, CEO of digital publishing platform Mag+.