MediaRadar Chimes In on Cover Wraps Trend

Last week I wrote about a trending ad strategy in the magazine biz of late, citing an article from D. Eadward Tree in Dead Tree Edition.

“The tactic is sponsored cover wraps – typically a four-page piece placed atop the regular front and back covers of select copies,” Tree writes. He gave an example of a recent Forbes cover wrap sponsored by Marcum Group.

“It’s a niche – or, rather, a tactic — that probably doesn’t even show up on most magazine-industry estimates or projections,” Tree wrote, even though publishers – and the ad agencies that help create the spots – are reporting good success with them.

There is one radar screen on which cover wraps are very much showing, however: according to an email I received from their CEO Todd Krizelman of Mediaradar, the ad intelligence organization that monitors the ad activity of 3 million brands across multiple channels.

“I caught your article on cover wraps yesterday morning (here) as I was commuting into the office,” Krizelman wrote. “I was curious to learn more, so went into MediaRadar to see what we might find.  We track cover wrap advertising specifically.  It turns out that you’re definitely right. There really is still a meaningful business here.”

He notes that about 20% of magazine titles have sold a cover wrap in the past year, in both the B2B and consumer magazine markets. He was gracious enough to send me the following stats from their ad analysis:

Source: MediaRadar data courtesy of Todd Krizelman

I asked Krizelman for his insights on the tactic, and how it compares to traditional magazine advertising as a more affordable option for smaller brands.

“Cover wraps are affordable and have a big punch,” Krizelman told me.  “I think most buyers don’t realize however that the price is affordable. Additionally we hear that many marketers don’t know to ask about wraps.”

As marketers begin to learn how affordable this tactic can be (buying a short-run cover on a tightly segmented portion of a magazine’s audience is less expensive than a full-run traditional ad), and how well they perform (Tree’s original post cites some highly impressive returns), we expect this to change. And in the current data landscape, publishers are slowly becoming savvier about unlocking the potential of their first-party data. 

“Only a minority of publishers are sophisticated in maximizing the value of their first-party customer data,” Krizelman continues. “But there is a learning curve and leaders are coming up to speed.  The issues with Facebook are helping evangelize the urgency around quality of user data. Going forward advertisers will increasingly demand authentication – both to improve quality, and to avoid any legal exposure.”

 Because magazines offer this kind of transparent authentication, on a trusted platform that drives engagement and influences purchase, we expect this tactic to start showing up on more radar screens in the coming months.