Magazine industry calls on brands to pay more attention to attention

The UK magazine marketing body’s first campaign is supported by research that reveals magazines, newspapers and cinema generally tend to command the most focused top-down attention.

Magnetic, the marketing body for consumer magazines, has launched its first advertising campaign, backed up by data that aims to raise the importance of consumer attention in a bid to highlight to brands its benefits to advertising.

‘Pay Attention’, which goes live today (7 February), marks the first time the magazine industry has come together under one marketing message. It will be hoping to change the conversation around magazine advertising, which has seen revenues fall as brands shift spend online.

The Advertising Association and Warc’s expenditure report estimates that magazine ad revenues in 2018 fell by 7.5% year on year and is predicting a further 6.2% decline in 2019. That is despite the overall ad market in the UK being in growth.

Magnetic believes part of the challenge for the magazine industry is the “growing disconnect” between effectiveness of certain media and how much is being invested in them. With marketers under increasing pressure to prove ROI, short-term metrics that play into the hands of online media are increasingly being used despite concerns over issues such as brand safety, measurement and ad fraud, and numerous effectiveness studies showing the underestimated long-term benefits of more traditional forms of media.

READ MORE: Marketers undervalue the impact of traditional media channels

“There has been an increasing disconnect between the body of evidence that shows the effectiveness of magazines and the perceptions of their role on the plan within agencies,” says Magnetic CEO Sue Todd. “This campaign shows the unique benefits of magazine media: trusted, relevant and positive environments in which readers pay attention to the content and, most importantly, the advertising.”

The print and digital creative, by D.Studio, features client and agency executives explaining why magazine media is important to them. This includes Smart Energy’s marketing boss Gavin Sheppard, who believes the campaign is a chance for marketers to work together to make sure the work they are doing is as effective as possible.

“There may be competition between products but there should not be competition between marketers in terms of what works and what doesn’t,” Sheppard tells Marketing Week.

The campaign is supported by a new report based on research conducted in collaboration with Bournemouth University and PHD Media. It aims to provide a new framework for thinking about attention that accounts for both the mindset of the user and the context of different media environments.

When it comes to absolute undivided attention – known as solus focus – cinema comes out on top, with 87% of consumers saying they do not do anything else at the same time, followed by newspapers on 60% and magazines on 58%. Websites have a score of 52%, social media of 35%, outdoor of 20%, TV 30% and commercial radio 11%.

A net 57% of respondents think positively about magazine advertising, describing it as part of the experience – the highest score for any channel. Digital display and social advertising came last, with just 27% saying the advertising was part of the experience, while cinema was on 55%, commercial radio and newspapers were on 47% and TV on 44%.

Attention to channel and attention to advertising within that channel are also closely linked for magazines – 59% and 35% respectively. By comparison, TV is 61% and 21%, commercial radio 33% and 17% and digital display 54% and 15%.

“It is in all of our interests that marketing is effective and demonstrably so. If marketing works and marketing is more effective, then as CMOs and marketing directors we all succeed. [Data] like this that seeks to share success and insight is broadly more important,” adds Sheppard.

The campaign creative will be featured on special issues of magazines from magazine companies including Hearst, Bauer Media, Immediate Media, TI Media, Dennis Publishing and Time Out Group. The special issues of Cosmopolitan, Empire, Grazia, Radio Times, Woman & Home, Cyclist and Time Out will be distributed in media agencies and direct to clients. The creative will also run in key trade titles in print and online.