There is a perception that magazines have been killed by digital information. Organizations are dumping more revenue into online content generation and omnichannel pay-to-click. It’s easy to find evidence of the decline of print. But just like Mark Twain, the reality is that the death of magazines and the advertising that fuels them have been greatly exaggerated.
Print is not dead
Saying magazines are dead is as fake news as a conspiracy theory. The truth is out there — and the truth is that magazines are doing just fine. Just look at the numbers:
- Magazine readership in the U.S. has actually risen since 2012, reaching more than 220 million.
- The number of magazine titles in circulation has stayed relatively constant since 2008, remaining somewhere between 7,100 and 7,300.
- Some magazine brands are growing significantly. For example, Entrepreneur is growing at an annual rate of 39%, Town & Country at 34.4%, and Popular Science at 24.5%.
- Magazine publishers, far from experiencing a race to the bottom, are increasing the price of print publications, with one doubling the price in three years while experiencing double-digit rate growth in subscriptions.
There is evidence, too, that millennials aren’t just online junkies; according to On the Bay Magazine, 95% of people under 25 read magazines. What this suggests is that magazines are evolving. “In fact, when you take the circulation of the magazine industry worldwide into account, it reaches as many people monthly as some of the major social media networks,” reported Optinopli.
But does magazine advertising, which for so long has been a staple in the revenue generation category for these print publications, still resonate? Is it possible to advertise in traditional print magazines and receive some return on investment (ROI)?
Benefits of magazine advertising
The numbers show us that print magazines still get the attention of a niche audience. This means there’s still ROI in magazine advertising. Magazines deliver higher ROI on advertising spending across all media, averaging a $3.94 return on every dollar spent. That’s 50% higher than all other categories. Nielsen looked at this as well and found magazines had the highest aggregate ROI over TV, online, online video, and outdoor. That’s not just in the U.S., either; a European study found the same high rate of return for magazine advertising.
The ROI that resides within magazine advertising is tied to these specific benefits:
- Instant credibility
Recognized print publications hold a certain prestige and credibility in the reader’s mind. When they pick up a copy of the magazine, their mind associates the information within to be legitimate and trustworthy. As an advertiser, this means there is a big opportunity to get your company and product/service firmly implanted into the reader’s mind as a credible brand.
- Company association to elevate your brand
There’s a saying that you’re a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. When it comes to advertising, the companies that readers see on the pages of the magazine are the ones they will associate with your brand. If you’re in a quality magazine with other reputable companies, readers will instantly elevate your company to that same level.
- Direct response calling and visitors to your website
Not only are magazines great for building your brand, but they also can deliver sales leads. Advertisements or feature articles can include a call to action with a phone number or a website address to direct readers to get more information or begin an engagement. A National Retail Federation study showed that shoppers are most likely to start an online search after viewing a magazine advertisement.
- Audience engagement
A significant benefit of magazines is that when readers pick them up, their fullattention is on the magazine. They don’t have the option to hold a 148-page magazine with one hand while checking their social media with the other. When someone picks up a magazine, they focus and engage with the text and advertisements. This response is unique, compelling, and potentially profitable.