PPA unveils print and digital tool for mags

Marketers will have direct access to a combined figure for print and digital editions of magazine brands for the first time when planing their campaigns following the launch of an audit tool from the Professional Publishers Association (PPA).

Trade body says the move will bring “greater clarity” to advertisers planning integrated campaigns.

The Combined Circulation Chart launches alongside next week’s (14 February) Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) report and will let advertisers view the combined circulation for magazine brands with an ABC figure for print and digital editions over the July to December 2012 period.

It will be published independently alongside the ABCs on a half-yearly basis. Furthermore, future editions of the chart will include the percentage change in the combined circulation for each listed magazine brands.

The launch follows an agreement between ABC, the PPA, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and newspaper publishers to relax the laws around how much audit data subscribers can access. It is hoped the initiative will encourage marketers to invest more readily in magazine brands by providing them with a headline figure to assess where to spend their budgets.

James Papworth, marketing director at the PPA, told Marketing Week the tool will make it “easier” for marketers to plan campaigns around magazine brands by being able to access the data in a more “user-friendly” way.

He adds: “This is a supplementary service to the ABCs not a replacement one. We’re using the same numbers as the ABCs but are able to frame them in a way that marketers can get a much better overview of the media landscape as well as a more holistic view of how individual titles are performing.”

Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Condé Nast and a member of the PPA Board, adds: “It is becoming clear that digital editions of magazines are more and more important as an exciting and viable addition to print. It is essential that these are fully recognised by the ABC, if our circulations are to remain accurate and coherent. Condé Nast is 100 percent behind this move.”

The tool is aimed at criticisms from some publishers the ABC has not done enough to address the industry’s migration to digital. As a result, the audit landscape for the publishing sector has become increasingly splintered with the ABC’s own digital certificate operating alongside more recent alternatives such as PwC’s own multiplatform measurement certificate, which both Marketing Week publisher Centaur and News International now use. It is understood the ABC is planning to produce a third metric drawing on the same method used by the PwC audit process aimed at B2B publishing.

Media experts say marketers should welcome the move but warn that a combined figure could be “dangerous” for trading ads.

Amy King, head of connected investment at Havas Media, adds: “[The tool] is good because it gives marketers a figure to go out and shout about how many people their brands are reaching instead of having to endure all the doom and gloom facing the sector. We wouldn’t trade off it, however and would want to go into more granular detail.”

The launch comes a week after the ABC launched its QuickView data tool, which allows users to analyse different metrics within and across different platforms, market sectors and time periods.

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