Speaking at the Professional Publishers Association’s Publishing+ Conference yesterday (8 May) senior executives from IPC Media and agencies Agenda21 and Universal McCann told delegates the publishing industry was in danger of losing its “mojo” if more is not done to move beyond using circulation figures to secure advertising revenues.
Nick Suckley, founder and managing partner a Agenda21 said publishers should switch to models where they receive “proper credit” for driving sales. He claimed that credit is entirely given to the search and not the publisher’s content that influenced the search or generated the click to occur in the first place. In the past, publishers’ contribution to sales has been undervalued by the “last click” measurement method, Suckley said.
He added: “All publishers are in the retail business. The only reason people buy advertising in magazines is to sell products. It used to be easy to link a purchase back to a magazine ad but with the advent of the web we’re seeing other steps like search engines enter that chain. If someone buys a TV online now a big part of that decision will come from reading magazine-type content. The irony is that when that purchase is made Google will get the credit for it.
“As an industry we need to start to hold our hand up and say our part in this process is actually a bigger part than we give credit to. I would love to see a situation where a magazine would start to say we will take a commission on the sales we generate.
The move would see publishers switch from the affiliate models used by some to attribution models more intrinsically linked to content. It is part of a wider shift in the advertising sector where brands are using more sophisticated tools to understand the true contribution of each media channel to their campaign.
Recognising the benefits of attribution for publishers and brands
Eve Samuel-Camps, business director at Universal McCann, said a more “mainstream” way of sharing such data would be “beneficial” and allow the industry to “measure what press delivers to clients in the same way” other channels such as TV have managed. She added publishers are now starting to understand the value of their inventory in forming more strategic relationships with advertisers.
She said: “The longer we talk about magazine circulation. The more we will not be able to move on and turn that page. It’s just not relevant anymore. Publishers are in a position where they have got a lot of data and access to their subscribers and are starting to experiment more with how they use that insight. Its an area they can win [over other media channels].”
It is a thought not lost on IPC Media. The NME publisher is working on two research initiatives with its advertising partners focusing on how readers engage with its brands, content and advertising across all platforms. The move follows the title revamping its advertising offering last month to work closer with advertisers.
Charlie Meredith, managing director of IPC Advertising, said: “We’re shouting as loudly as we could about our ability to generate ROI from our content. We’ve done the research and have the tools to demonstrate the power of our content but need to do more to talk about it with agencies.
He cited roadshows where publishers and agencies talk about potential advertising opportunities and launching more studies as effective ways to communicate the value of their ad inventory.