What does a media agency expect from publishers?

Cools began by identifying the “missions of a media agency”:

  • Spot evolution in consumption trends
  • Identify the right target groups
  • Design relevant strategies
  • Plan campaigns in every medium used
  • Negotiate and buy the corresponding ad placements
  • Measure the return of investment

He then went on to address what exactly a media agency, like Space, expect from publishers.


Said Cools: “We encounter problems more often with digital than print. Please make digital as simple as possible, whenever you can. It’s not that we don’t want sophistication!”

Cools talked through examples of interesting studies including 2006’s MagLab research and Sanoma’s 2012 engagement survey, both from Belgium, which provide agencies with “simple indexes.”

Outside of Belgium, Cools said Australia’s MAPP study provides some interesting data, as does MPA’s Magazine Media 360 monthly report from the US. “This is all of great value to us,” said Cools.

Sense of reality

“Your goal should not be to inflate readership figures, print should have more realistic audience reporting,” said Cools. “The Magazine Media 360 report is only at the level of vehicle distribution at the moment, which is great, but typical of magazine metrics. We recommend the standards should be raised. Give us more data, and be specific.”

“Advertisers want to know how many readers your brand gathers and how many consumers their ad reaches.”


Cools talked of innovations in magazine media that are helping brands be sexier. He used the example of Roularta’s Scanlink, which allows readers to scan a print ad and visit the advertiser’s website.

“However, sexiness is not always about digital,” said Cools. “Sometimes it’s sexy simply to focus on your objectives.”

“And please keep demonstrating ROI,” he said, citing FIPP’s Proof of Performance report and PPA’s Magonomics study.

Helping media agencies

Cools advised publishers to invest in smart research, effective tools, digital and enthusiasm.

“It’s not bad news,” he said. “Arguably, we are at a pivotal moment. The effectiveness of print seems to have returned and Martin Sorrell’s recent comments [Space is 50 per cent owned by WPP] demonstrate this.”

Story by Amy Duffin.

Download the full presentation from the FIPP Insight Forum.

About the FIPP Insight Forum

The FIPP Insight Forum (formerly known as the Research Forum) is a two-day event for publishers, researchers and marketing executives in the magazine business. It’s taking place today and tomorrow in Amsterdam, at the offices of Sanoma.

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