Marketers to Mull Magazine Ad Placement

The available media space in the online sector continues to grow and threaten established print properties.  Marketers know they need to consider their media mix allocations between online and traditional channels. At the same time, they should consider the placement strategies of purchased media space in properties such as magazines. This recommendation comes from MRI analysts who have studied consumer recall of magazine ads.

The study indicates that marketers can improve their outcomes by paying more for ads that appear on cover pages.  For example, the noted scores for placement in traditional magazines were recorded as follows:

  • Second cover 66%
  • Third cover 56%
  • Fourth cover 59%

The data also point to a difference in the scores based on placement within the magazines:

  • First quarter of magazine 50%
  • Second quarter of magazine 47%
  • Third quarter of magazine 46%
  • Fourth quarter of magazine 45%

By genre, there can also be significant different in what consumers notice when it comes to ad placement. The percentage differences in noted ad score between first quarter and fourth quarter placement in the magazine are particularly large in the following categories:

  • Automotive 9% difference (from 53% in first quarter to 44% in fourth quarter)
  • Business/​finance 10% difference (from 49% in first quarter to 39% in fourth quarter)
  • Science/​technology  11% difference (from 50% in first quarter to 39% in fourth quarter)
  • Travel 11% difference (from 51% in first quarter to 40% in fourth quarter)
  • Men’s 7% (from 49% in first quarter to 42% in fourth quarter)

Based on this study, marketers might consider paying extra for cover ads. Results also improve when marketers pay for first quarter placement in travel, science/​technology and business/​finance genres. The MRI analysis contains additional information about the effects of ad size and page placement. Perhaps the most important outcome of this study will be to remind marketers that the nature of print advertising continues to change and they should evaluate their strategies before each placement is purchased.

[Sources: Galin, Michal, Print Advertising Measurement. Gfkmri​.com. 2010. Web. 7 Sept. 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.