Call it the James Bond effect: The top monthly magazine ad page gainers for June 2012 feature guns, beauty and gadgets, according to min.online.
The top ad-page gainer is Guns & Ammo, with 47.84 more ad pages in June 2012 over June 2011, for an 89.42% year-over-year (YoY) gain. Published by Intermedia Outdoors, publisher Chris Agnes attributes the interest in part to the popular show “Sons of Guns” on the Discovery Channel: Also to 2012 being an election year which “For whatever reason,” renews interest in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, reports Agnes.
Allure from Condé Nast took the #2 spot, and Elle from Hearst was #4. “June 2012 was the biggest issue ever for Allure,” publisher Agnes Chapski told min, with a 41.15% YoY ad-page gain. The June Readers’ Choice Awards are a particular draw, with nearly 90% of Allure readers reporting they trust the awards to help them make purchasing decisions. Elle, another fashion and beauty title, has gained a boost from its acquisition and rework by Hearst in May 2011. Elle has a particularly strong online presence, with 27 individual sites worldwide, which publisher and chief revenue officer Kevin O'Malley makes it a powerful “omni-channel brand.”
Taking the #3 spot (and joining the top five list for the first time) is IEEE Spectrum, an engineering trade journal. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has 400,000+ members in 150 countries for a powerful built-in subscribership (Spectrum is included in membership). The June issue includes a 32-page sponsored insert by Comsol, a simulation software provider, and June is the magazine’s traditional yearbook of in-depth technology provider coverage.
Rounding out the top five ad-page gainers: Ebony, with its June Music/Father’s Day special. Ebony targets a black demographic, and gained 55.02% YoY in 2012, attracting such advertisers as BMW (6 series), Verizon, Philadelphia Tourism, Unilever and State Farm Insurance. The June issue features current music stars from hip-hop and R&B, but also black celebrity fathers.
Three years ago, the Christian Science Monitor “began a jump-in-the-deep-end version of digital transformation,” describes the Poynter Organization. The daily newspaper went to a weekly print edition, maintaining daily news online. If that sounds like a surrender, guess again: The Monitor garners about 42 million page views a month and 8 to 10 million unique visitors, which is five times what it was before the transformation. Plus, ad revenue and content sales have grown more than 50% for the fiscal year closing April 30, “The best we’ve done financially since 1963,” writes editor John Yemma.
What the Monitor did which, for example, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have not, is to largely surrender its print edition—a gamble, but a strategy that has worked arguably as well as the NYT and WSJ strategies. And it placed more of an emphasis upon online advertising.
The challenge for the Monitor is somewhat like that of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: It is funded largely by endowments (The First Church of Christ, Scientist for the Monitor, government and corporate endowments for CPB). But endowments expand and contract, and have not held the Monitor above water any more than they hold up public broadcasting, else there would be no semiannual “pledge drives” on public television. “You might see the systematic decrease of our longstanding subsidy as similar to the erosion of print ad revenue at a locally based newspaper,” wrote Yemma.
And like newspapers, the Monitor is going digital, treading water until the digital strategy pays off. The Monitor has an operating budget of $18.6 million, and is down $4.5 million for this fiscal year, and budgeted for $3.3 million next: but it counts on the digital transformation to turn it around by 2017. (“Trading print dollars for digital dimes,” as Digiday describes the dilemma.) And those dimes are coming from high-end brands like Infiniti and Nokia.
Quit Crying Over Print
Digiday summed up the challenge by digital to print media: “$40 billion evaporated with little likelihood of return [but] rather than waste more time pointing fingers, publishers need to get on with figuring out what’s next.” For years, the news industry depended upon classified ads which Google, Facebook and Craigslist now own. “This market dynamic continues to move so quickly that its last owner, Yahoo, has already faltered into a lesser tier.”
The solution for publishers is, simply, to carve a niche and own the distribution. “A marketplace where buyers have multiple channels to reach the same audience only leads to a race to the bottom.”
The Monitor is somewhat like the Huffington Post—it is the demographic that differs. Both have a distinct audience, Scientologists (among others) for the Monitor, a younger-and-progressive skewing demo for HuffPo. Both endeavor to provide high-end first-hand content: Both have global and U.S. correspondents monitoring world events, the campaign trail, the Supreme Court, tech, science, and the environment. And the Monitor wins the occasional scoop: CSM on April 9 covered the reversal of immigration from Mexico, hitting the presses a week before a Pew report confirmed the trend. But HuffPo was a digital-only product that never had to throw off the shackles of a print edition and make the transition to digital.
Both Monitor and HuffPo skew to an educated late 30s-early 40s wage-earning demographic—a sweet-spot for digital reading. That’s what works for them: They meet the readers.
Similarly, Penton Media’s Technology Media Group in February announced that, in response to audience and marketer demand, it would transform all of its brands to all-digital beginning this month. “We conducted research amongst our audience and advertisers and found that they were really looking for an enhanced digital experience and were becoming less reliant on print magazines,” said Peg Miller, Penton technology market leader. Miller noted that the Penton audience is largely one of IT professionals and developers working in a digital environment. Penton had double-digit gains in digital edition subscriptions FY 2011-2012, and “We’re finding that our audience prefers to learn about technology through multiple channels – whether it be printed words, videos, audio, screencasts and in-person events.” Penton Technology Media Group brands include Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Pro, DevPro, System iNetwork and The VAR Guy, among other titles.
Penton is hardly stepping raiding Monitor or HuffPo’s readerships: but the lesson is the same. Successful publishers meet the readers where they are and with a unique value proposition. And that in turn means value for advertisers.
Nielsen has released some updated stats and an infographic on African-American consumers and mobile advertising. As of Q4 of 2011, half of black mobile users owned a smartphone (up from 44% in Q4 2010) and 58% accessed the mobile Internet, more than any other race/ethnic group.
Nielsen was updating data from its Sepember, 2011 “State of the African-American Consumer” report, which it compiled in cooperation with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S. As Nielsen described, “This growing economic potential presents an opportunity for Fortune 500 companies to examine and further understand this important, flourishing market segment.”
“Too often, companies don’t realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market size impact and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month,” said Cloves Campbell, chairman, NNPA.
Where to reach them?
Spot and search advertisers will want to concentrate on the eastern seaboard and south/southeast, according to U.S. Census data.
Among other findings by Nielsen and NNPA:
- With a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, they’d be the 16th largest country in the world.
- The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or higher grew by almost 64% between 2000 and 2009, a rate close to 12% greater than the change in the overall population’s.
- African-Americans make more shopping trips than all other groups, but spend less money per trip. African-Americans in higher income brackets also spend 300% more in higher-end retail grocers more than any other high income household.
- There were 23.9 million active African-American Internet users in July 2011 – 76% of whom visited a social networking/blog site.
- African-Americans use more than double the amount of mobile phone voice minutes compared to Whites – 1,298 minutes a month vs. 606.
- The percentage of African-Americans attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44% for men and 53% for women.
According to Nielsen data, and despite the vast amount of free content available, tablet owners are willing to pay for the media they really want. Nielsen compared the willingness to purchase media content among tablet owners in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy and found that Americans are the most likely to pay for all categories of media content but one—news. That likely is because news is free and plentiful: consider CNN.com, MSNBC.com, which charge no premiums for their content, versus outlets like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times online. Only the most dedicated newsies climb the paywalls.
Also true, guesses Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch, there is a dearth of “free” apps in the European market, and more of a drive to premium subscriptions. Europeans are more accustomed to paying for news.
Other findings by Nielsen:
- Most U.S. tablet owners have paid for downloaded music (62%) and books (58%) for usage on their device. Approximately half have paid for movies (51%).
- News is the top content category among the European tablet owners surveyed: 44 percent of tablet owners in Italy, 19 percent of tablet owners in the UK, and 15 percent of tablet owners in Germany say they have paid for tablet news content.
- Among the European countries, Italians are the most willing to pay for media content on their tablet. “That probably points to fewer instances of “free” apps and more of a drive to premium subscriptions in that market,” guesses Lunden. Italy also outscored Germany and the U.K. in every other category, including music and books, streaming radio and magazines
Ad research think tank Kantar Media has released some media-specific results for 2011 (for retailers, on out of home adverts), but has just released its all-media, all-verticals results.
Total advertising expenditures increased 0.8% in 2011 and finished the year at $144.0 billion in 2011. Ad spending during Q4 dipped 1.0% over Q4 2010, which was the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009. Since reaching a post-recession peak in Q3 2010, advertising growth rates have slowed sequentially for five consecutive quarters.
“The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011,” said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. “Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.”
Measured Ad Spending By Media
Television continued to lead the ad market in the fourth quarter. Network TV expenditures jumped 7.7% year-over-year and were helped by strong pricing for football, a baseball World Series that went the maximum seven games and the launch of The X Factor singing competition program. The rate of Cable growth eased during Q4, finishing at +2.4% as higher demand from restaurants and retailers was offset by reductions from consumer packaged goods. For the full year, Network TV decreased by 2.0% while Cable rose 7.7%.
Spanish language TV ad spending surged 19.1% in fourth quarter, paced by higher sell-out levels at over-the-air networks. For all of 2011, the segment increased 8.3%.
Syndication TV benefitted from higher spending by department stores and health-and-beauty brands and saw expenditures soar 11.0% in Q4. Full year spending advanced by 15.4%.
Spot TV expenditures fell 8.7% in the fourth quarter but the more significant indicator was that November and December spending were each down, despite easy comparisons against diminished, post-election spending volume of a year ago. Full year Spot TV spending dropped 4.5%.
Free Standing Inserts achieved healthy gains in the fourth quarter with spend rising 3.0%. Although manufacturers have been distributing fewer FSI coupons, retailer promotion pages have increased significantly and this contributed to the improvement.
Ad expenditures for measured digital media declined in the fourth quarter. Paid Search budgets were 6.4% lower versus a year ago with continuing reductions from financial, insurance and local service advertisers. Display investments decreased 5.9% in Q4, dragged down by smaller budgets from auto manufacturers, telecom providers and travel companies. For the entire year, Paid Search declined 2.8% and Display increased 5.5%.
Magazine ad spending eroded at year end. Consumer Magazines declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter due to deep cutbacks in auto, food and pharmaceutical advertising. Total year expenditures were level compared to prior year. Outlays in Sunday Magazines fell 9.8% in Q4, the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines, and were down 7.2% for all of 2011.
Local Newspaper ad expenditures fell 3.9% during the fourth quarter, hurt by the reallocation of retailer advertising budgets to other media channels during the key holiday shopping season. Full year spending was 3.8% lower. The losses in Newspaper spending are consistent with reductions in the amount of space sold.
The pace of spending in Radio media also sagged. Local Radio expenditures were down 3.8% and National Spot Radio plummeted 13.9% in the fourth quarter. The telecom, financial service and automotive categories were prime contributors to these quarterly decreases.
Measured Ad Spending By Category
Expenditures for the ten largest categories grew 3.3% in 2011 and reached $81,629.2 million.
Automotive was the leading category in dollar volume and finished 2011 at $13,890.4 million, up 6.3%. Category spending growth became increasingly bifurcated during the year with Tier 2 and Tier 3 dealer budgets continuing to expand and Tier 1 manufacturer expenditures flattening.
Miscellaneous Retail, which is comprised of all retail segments except Department Stores and Home Improvement purveyors, was the second largest category with 2011 expenditures of $10,019.5 million, up 4.0%. Robust ad spending during the critical year-end holiday season bolstered results.
Insurance registered the largest growth rate among the Top Ten categories with a 13.5% gain to $5,519.0 million. Aggressive competition among auto insurers to gain market share continues to drive media budgets higher.
Financial Services totaled $9,059.9 million of spending, a 3.6% increase. Growth has been fueled by the credit card segment, offsetting continued weakness in ad budgets for investment products and retail banking.
The Telecom category lost ground as 2011 expenditures fell 5.8% to $8,649.0 million. Declines were most pronounced among the leading wireless service advertisers. Aggregates expenditures from TV service providers also slowed.
Ever heard of Ser Padres magazine?
Probably not. But you should. It featured what was perhaps the most effective single magazine advertisement of 2011, for cleaning products, and from Target Stores. In Spanish.
Michal Galin, who is executive vice president of research at GfK MRI Starch (which measures print-ad effectiveness) clocked the 10 most effective magazine ads of 2011 in an AdAge column. Not only weren’t the products particularly sexy, but they “”were not necessarily the ones with the most expensive creative or the highest media spend,” wrote Galin. The ads included coupons, M&Ms, detergents, iPads and travel apps. Sure, there were two attractive women, but not appealing to male consumers. One flat-stomached model advertised Skechers fitness shoes, and another Oil of Olay bath products, but in health-and-wellness journals with largely women readerships.
GfK MRI's Starch Advertising Research division studied a whopping 87,000 one-page and two-page print ads that appeared in consumer magazines in the calendar year, 2011. The company developed an "Engagement Score" compiled of the percentage of readers who read a particular ad, and those who took any action because of the ad. The 10 best-in-category ads had not only “stopping power,” said Galin, but also elicited a response like visiting the website; clipping the in-ad coupon; recommending or buying the product.
What they did do was choose their outlets carefully, then create a strong connection with the buyer. For example, an Xbox "Halo" ad appeared in the Official Xbox Magazine, and an American Airlines ad in American Way magazine. These advertisers took no chances, they chose magazines in which they have a built-in appeal to readers.
Tied for first place: a Spanish-language ad in the publication Ser Padres; and an ad for the WWE SummerSlam professional wrestling event in (not surprisingly) WWE Magazine.
The appeal of wrestling is obvious, and the readership guaranteed to be engaged —but just what is Ser Padres?
It is a Meredith publication, and the Spanish-language version of Parents magazine, published since 1990. “Ser Padres' goal is to be the primary source of inspiration and information on family, home and health,” says its marketing materials. Why this is remarkable is that a WWE event in a WWE magazine is practically guaranteed engagement. Cleaning products in Ser Padres must compete with clothing to medications to financial services and insurance has a harder time competing for attention.
Two ads, for Bed Bath & Beyond, and by Walmart for NatureMade vitamins, offered clippable coupons. NatureMade ads appeared in the health-and-wellness magazine All You, while the Bed, Bath & Beyond ad appeared in the May issue of Better Homes & Gardens.
“Either there's something wrong with the methodology here, or magazine advertising is even worse than I thought,” grumped co-founder Wayne Best of Cog NYC, a creative agency. “This is one of the worst collections of ads I've seen. If they were effective it was the coupons or the products themselves, not the job the agencies did.”
Best is right in that the ads (and their buyers) are risk-averse and playing it safe. Of course, young mothers are interested in keeping clean homes, and of course, a 20-year-old gamer who reads Official Xbox Magazine might be interested in the game “Combat Evolved Anniversary.” But with consumer ad pages and newsstand sales on the decline—largely because consumers are having a hard time coughing up the $2 to $5 dollars it takes to buy the magazines—it is simply good business sense to play it safe.
How significant is time-shifted viewing on DVRs?
Significant enough that it makes “Modern Family,” not “American Idol,” the ratings champ among viewers 18-49, reports the New York Times. “The daily ratings are in many ways a mirage now,” which change significantly when you take DVRs into account.
Counting seven days of delayed viewing, ABC's “Modern Family” reaches 3.1 million viewers according to Nielsen; up from the 7.1 million counted in overnight ratings. But viewers tend to watch “American Idol” and “The Voice” live.
Still as the Times describes, “Total popularity does not perfectly correlate with profitability,” as the networks sell ad time on the C3 metric, measuring average viewing of commercials within a show within three days of the first broadcast. So time-shift viewers who wait until Sunday or Monday simply don’t factor in.
While DVRs are in an estimated 43% of American households with televisions, other methods of time shifting (video on demand, Internet streaming) are speeding up, further complicating the total-viewership picture.
DVR Viewership On The Rise
According to Nielsen data, DVR usage accounts for 8% of Americans’ TV time.
Among the three major devices connected to televisions, which are video game consoles, DVRs and DVD players, DVRs account for the highest percentage of watching time. Since 2006 the percentage of time spent watching live TV has dropped 4%, from 89% to 85%. But, the amount of time each person watches TV content (live or timeshifted) has increased by 19 minutes year-over-year for January. “In short,” says Nielsen, “we’re watching more, but more frequently on our own schedules.”
The percent of DVR usage by Americans has grown from just 1.6% in 2006 to almost 8% in 2011. Leading the demographics in DVR usage are females 18-54, who allot almost 10% of their TV viewing time to a DVR.
In 2006, only 2.2% of people 18-49 tuned in to both "American Idol" and "NCIS," the top two programs that both aired at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. But in 2011, 7% of people 18-49 watched "Castle" and "Hawaii Five-O," which air on Mondays at 10 p.m.
ValueClick, Inc., an Internet advertising network, has announced results from its “2012 ValueClick Media Advertiser Survey.” This annual survey tracks the perceptions, thoughts and actions of agencies and brand marketers, including their views on advertising budgets, reasons for selecting media partners and digital marketing trends. Nearly 300 digital marketers and agency professionals participated in the survey, conducted in December 2011—71% of respondents from agencies, 26% being direct buyers.
ValueClick found that in the category of stationary display advertising, aggregated media–such as networks, demand-side platforms (DSPs), exchanges and trading desks–are stabilizing or increasing their footprint, apparently at the expense of portal buys. Still, while DSPs, exchanges, and trading desks are gaining momentum, 19-31% of media buyers do not plan to spend in those channels in 2012. In addition, video and mobile marketing are experiencing a surge, with only 7-10% of marketers not planning to spend in these channels in 2012 (down from 13% and 15%, respectively, in 2011).
- The number of buyers planning on decreasing spending in networks dropped by over 50%, while those planning to spend the same or increase on networks grew from 72% to 83%. A mere 3% of buyers do not plan on spending on networks.
- DSPs appear to be stabilizing, with the percentage of buyers who plan to keep the spend the same as last year equating to 30%, vs. 23% in last year’s survey, while those planning to increase their spending decreased to 17% from 20% over the same time period.
- Those buyers planning to not spend at all with portals jumped over 38% - from 13% to 18% - and the percentage keeping the same spend or increasing declined from 53% to 45%. A mere 9% of buyers expect to increase their spend with portals.
Targeting Techniques Even Out
Compared to prior years, 2012 will bring a relative impartiality to various targeting techniques. For the first time in the seven years that ValueClick Media’s Annual Advertiser Survey has been completed, the top four preferred targeting techniques (audience-based, demographic, contextual and retargeting) are within a mere six percentage points of each other. Advertisers value any method of reaching the audience, but the one-time king of demographics is now simply part of the pack as contextual and retargeting methodologies have improved, and proved their worth.
Performance Takes on Greater Emphasis
Perhaps related to the leveling out of targeting preferences, the importance of tangible results dwarfs all other criteria buyers use to select media partners. While buyers surveyed in past years regularly ranked performance as the most important consideration, never before has the gap between performance and any other consideration been this wide. In a particularly surprising finding, the importance of transparency dropped by just over 50% compared to last year’s survey.
So buyers are spending less time policing their partners, than policing the results of the partnerships.
Advertisers, take note: of 26 current affairs personalities, most elicit strong positive or negative reactions. That according to Harris Interactive, which has released The Harris Poll results of a survey of 2,016 adults.
As Harris observes, current affairs consumers a few decades ago were restricted to the three network anchors, being Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Chet Huntley—all fairly staid and uncontroversial personalities. Today’s viewers have the choice of three network anchors, plus a multitude of personalities via cable stations, and “even a radio personality who transcends many of his brethren on television,” being Rush Limbaugh.
Harris Interactive offered the list of 26 current affairs personalities and asked those surveyed which three are their favorites. Almost one-quarter said ABC News' Diane Sawyer (23%), while one in five chose CNN's Anderson Cooper (19%) and NBC's Brian Williams (19%). Rounding out the top five favorite current affairs personalities were Bill O'Reilly (15%) and Barbara Walters (15%). A little further down the list are George Stephanopoulos (14%), Matt Lauer (13%), Katie Couric (13%), Rush Limbaugh (9%) and Sean Hannity (9%).
Looking at the flip side, when asked to identify their least favorite, almost half chose Rush Limbaugh (46%). Three in ten chose Bill O'Reilly (31%) and almost one-quarter chose Nancy Grace (23%). Rounding out the top ten least favorite news personalities are Sean Hannity (14%), Katie Couric (10%), Piers Morgan (10%), Barbara Walters (10%), Chris Matthews (10%), Rachel Maddow (7%) and Wolf Blitzer (7%).
All News Is Political
The political bent of a network (real or perceived) and of individual personalities affected the survey results dramatically.
For Republicans, the top three favorite current affairs personalities are Bill O'Reilly (29%), Sean Hannity (25%) and Rush Limbaugh (22%) while for Democrats and Independents the top three are Diane Sawyer (28% and 25% respectively), Anderson Cooper (24% and 21%) and Brian Williams (24% and 20%).
Interestingly, one person is in the least liked top three for all three political parties. For Republicans, the three least liked current affairs personalities are Nancy Grace (25%), Rush Limbaugh (24%) and Chris Matthews (18%). For Democrats, the three news personalities that are the least favorite are Rush Limbaugh (66%), Bill O'Reilly (45%), and Sean Hannity (23%) while for Independents it is Rush Limbaugh (49%), Bill O'Reilly (31%) and Nancy Grace (25%).
Harris acknowledges that viewers tune into these personalities for different reasons. A broadcast network personality is (in theory) supposed to provide the news objectively, while that is not what a viewer expects of, for example, Sean Hannity. Thus one viewer may watch Brian Williams because watching NBC for news is simply a habit, while another tunes into conservative personality Bill O'Reilly for his political leanings. So O’Reilly is more likely to be tagged as a “least favorite” than Williams. In short, one will both lose, and gain viewers, by advertising on an O'Reilly broadcast.
Media Life, conducted a poll last week of its industry-insider readership, and 42.3% predicted that Fox would take top honors; NBC was second at 26.9%, CBS third at 19.2%, and ABC fourth at 11.5%.
Glory is short lived: “It seems readers may have forgotten that NBC carried the Super Bowl,” wrote Media Life. Still, readers may have been put off NBC by the struggling "Smash," which debuted with a 3.8 among adults 18-49 just two weeks ago, to a 2.3 this week. The majority of those polled at 76.9% rated “Smash”’s performance as “so-so,” and over 19% rate its performance “disappointing.”
Fox on the other hand has “American Idol,” its ratings champion, which despite losing a few tenths from 2011, has the highest average for a non-sports/non-special show. When asked to predict which show will finish No. 1 this season, 48% chose “Idol,” while 20% chose the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”
Among those shows media buyers and planners expect to be canceled:
- “Remodeled” (CW)
- “Are You There, Chelsea?” (NBC)
- “The River” (ABC)
- “Alcatraz” (Fox)