GM Thought of the Week: ABC Results – Do They Really Show the Full Picture?
The latest ABCs were released this week. The release day is a notoriously busy one for consumer magazine saleshouses and media buyers alike as average circulation figures for the last 6 months are revealed. For the first time, this ABC report included a new figure – the ‘actively purchased’ figure, which shed some interesting light on various titles.
Magazines are starting to employ new tactics to boost their figures. Over the last year or so, it has become a growing trend for certain sectors to be handing out magazines free-of-charge at train stations, shopping centres or distributed free with online shopping purchases. NME magazine has even changed its whole distribution from a purchased title to a free of charge one. Whilst this is great for circulation numbers, if these titles are not being ‘actively purchased,’ could we argue the audience is not as engaged with the content? Do these consumers even want the magazine? Is it actually being read? This is something to consider moving forward, as arguably the circulation alone no longer tells the full story of an advert’s potential reach.
These free issues however cannot be taken as wholly negative. On the other side of the coin, these free distributions are usually (more often than not) providing incremental reach. If display page costs are increasing in line with this however, it’s important to consider these actively purchased figures when accessing the coverage of your brand and apply creative solutions to capture the attention of those mindlessly flicking through the title.
Ellie Start, Senior Account Manager