How Magnetic is Working to Burst the Media Planning Bubble

To talk to the current generation of media planners, you’d think that magazine content has fallen dramatically out of favor – to the point that these decisions makers are highly biased against magazine advertising.

Yet, according to Sue Todd of Magnetic.Media, the demand for magazine content is going up – not down. And she has proof, in the magazine industry’s newest audience measurement tool, PAMCo.

The new data currency, jointly funded by newsbrands and magazines and a modern replacement to the NRS, displays cross-platform readership figures for the first time,” explains Micheala Jefferson in MediaTel, who recently interviewed Todd. “It’s a game-changer for the publishing industry, as the numbers now reflect the reality of how readers are consuming news and magazine content across mobile, tablet, desktop and print.”

This kind of data, Todd asserts, is going to challenge some deeply held biases in the media planning industry, in which traditional media are undervalued by industry decision-makers despite being considerably more effective for building brand trust when compared to online video and social media.

“The narrative is changing at the highest level,” Todd notes. “People are starting to write about the opportunity PAMCo affords planners, clients and published media.”

The opportunity she’s speaking of is the healthy total brand reach that magazines have across channels – in spite of lower print circulations.

“Take the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan,” Jefferson writes. “According to ABC circulation figures, it had an average monthly print circulation of just 343,000 between July and December 2017. However, PAMCo reveals that the magazine had an average, de-duplicated monthly total brand reach of 3.3 million people between April 2017 and March 2018, 2 million of which came from mobile.”

The challenge now, according to Todd, is to “make sure that planners and advertisers understand how to use this new data to structure clever, effective campaigns.”

Part of their work at Magnetic is helping ad planners realize that close to 90% of new discretionary spend comes from “identity categories” – those passion-based interests that garner deep engagement and relevance. And she believes many media planners are missing the boat due to a heavy digital ad bias – what we call the quest for eyeballs.

“Part of our job is to constantly challenge and talk to advertisers about the missed opportunity that represents,” she says.”

Todd believes that by highlighting the value of contextual advertising – the kind that works incredibly well in print magazines – “it should be obvious that placing a car ad next to a piece of content about cars is a good idea.”

Listen, we don’t blame the buyers for their bias – most of them have grown up as digital natives – but we do believe that education is critical. We all need to challenge the hype that time spent on a channel equals higher ROI (it doesn’t), and understand the brand-building multiplier effect of print magazine media.