Magazine Publishers to Adjust Measurement for Media Mix Models

The authors of two recently published papers contend  that media mix modeling (MMM) is growing more important. However, the data used in these models to measure the impact of one traditional media format – magazines – is not as accurate as it could be. The authors note that audience measurement has been an imperfect science when it comes to magazines. A single issue can be read over a period of weeks or months. But, in general,  measurement occurs twice a year, regardless of whether a publication is printed weekly or monthly.

Before they close a sale, magazine publishers must promote their media format to marketers who are using MMM for a variety of reasons:

  • Determine effectiveness of each element in a marketing campaign
  • Justify spending in advertising/​marketing
  • Determine optimum media mix for future campaigns
  • Establish best spending and scheduling levels
  • Measure ROI

To compete with new media formats, magazine publishers are finding new ways to measure gross rating points (GRP) for magazines. Instead of just considering  the traditionally used issue-​specific GRP, magazine publishers should promote their GRP audience accumulation data to media buyers.  Studies indicate that only about 50% of a weekly magazine’s audience may occur in the first week of publication. Using GRP audience accumulation over a longer period of time will show a marketer a more accurate measure of reach.

As a result of their findings, the authors conclude “the inclusion of audience accumulation is all but mandatory in responsible MMM practice involving magazines.” Look for more magazine publishers to promote audience accumulation as a new metric for effectiveness of reach as competition heats up for marketing dollars.

[Source: Collins, James and Dixon, David. How More Precise Magazine Inputs Can Improve Media Mix Modeling. Journal of Advertising Research. March 2010. Web. 7 Jun. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.