Kantar Media has released its final tallies for 2011 ad spending across media, and the results are a mixed bag. They suggest that advertisers value TV, are losing faith in consumer magazines and newspapers (no news there), and are on the fence about digital advertising.
Surprisingly hard hit were Sunday magazines (like Parade, The Boston Globe Magazine and the New York Times Magazine). Presumably this is because print newspaper subscriberships are down, and readers tend to cut out the expensive Sunday editions to save money, before they cancel daily subscriptions.
Big winners: Spanish-language media, and TV syndication.
Spanish-language TV was up 8.3% year-over-year, versus 2.4% for TV overall. Spanish-language magazines were up 24.9% YoY, defying a 0.4% decline for all magazines.Syndicated TV was up 15.4% over that 2.4% for TV overall (due in part to the astounding success of “The Big Bang Theory” which hit syndication in Q3).
The Year Overall
Total advertising expenditures increased an unimpressive 0.8% in 2011 and finished the year at $144.0 billion. Ad spending during the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped 1.0% versus the year ago period, 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 & 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 Advertiser
Spending among the ten largest advertisers in 2011 reached $16,061.6 million, a 2.8% decline compared to a year ago. Among the Top 100 marketers, a diversified group that represents over two-fifths of all measured ad expenditures, full year budgets were down 0.2%.
For the ninth consecutive year, Procter & Gamble was the top advertiser with spending of $2,949.1 million down 5.4% compared to last year. While TV is still the foundation of its advertising media buys, P&G’s 2011 budget allocation saw share gains for magazines at the expense of TV.
AT&T was the second largest advertiser in 2011 with expenditures of $1,924.6 million, a decline of 11.7%. Media budgets were severely curtailed during the fourth quarter when the company abandoned its attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, triggering large breakup fees and a huge earnings loss. At Verizon Communications, full year ad spending was $1,636.9 million, a decrease of 11.8%. After a string of quarterly budget cuts dating to early 2010, Verizon sharply boosted its spending during the last quarter.
The largest growth rate among the Top Ten marketers was posted by Chrysler, up 36.2% to $1,193.0 for the full year. The increase was driven by marketing introductions for several new or redesigned models, coupled with the improved sales climate for new vehicles. In contrast, General Motors lowered its 2011 outlays by 16.1% to $1,784.1 million. Q4 media budgets dropped 24.7%. As factory support has been trimmed, GM dealers have been bearing a larger share of the overall marketing effort.
L’Oreal investments in 2011 rose 18.1% to $1,343.5 million as the company expanded marketing support for the L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline and Garnier brand lines. Comcast (+11.3%, to $1,577.2 million) and Time Warner (+5.8%, to $1,279.4 million) also posted full year spending gains.
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.
Top Spending Advertisers Within Select Media
The top ten TV advertisers spent $10,115.4 million in the medium during 2011, down 0.8% from a year ago. This group accounted for 14.9% of total TV expenditures by all advertisers.
The ten largest Internet advertisers invested a total of $2,360.6 million in paid search and display campaigns, up 10.0% versus a year ago. Despite fragmentation on the web, the group accounted for 10.9% share of all Internet ad dollars.
The top ten advertisers in Hispanic Media spent $1,403.6 million during 2011, an increase of 29.2%. This group accounted for 24.7% of all Hispanic Media expenditures, the largest Top Ten share concentration of any medium.
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.
eMarketer and video ad network YuMe report a nearly three-to-one bias toward women in gender-targeted video advertising.
According to YuMe, the majority (65.9%) of video ad campaign proposal received by publishers in 2011 were gender-agnostic, but 25.7% targeted women, and 8.4% targeted men.
Not surprising, considering that consumer package goods (CPG) companies (which commonly target health and beauty products at women) were the single largest spender of ad dollars for online video in 2011, at 24%.
Age-wise, online video ads most often targeted at consumers aged 25 to 54: 39% of US advertisers targeted females in this age range and 22% targeted males. Few advertisers ventured outside of that spectrum. Video advertisers are targeting parents and professionals, who eMarketer estimates account for 51.1% of all U.S. online video viewers in 2012, most strongly (19.2%) of those viewers in the 25-to-34 age range.
But advertisers will not ignore those other demographics. YuMe found 73% of all U.S. pre-roll video ads seen by viewers ages 12 to 24 were watched in full last year, compared to 68% of all ads watched by those ages 25 to 54. Pre-roll ads offer the greatest guarantee of full viewership, considering they are often mandatory precursors to watching online video. About 78% of viewers will watch an interactive in-stream video like a pre-roll to completion, versus about 39% for an in-banner video, reports video ad network PointRoll, making in-stream video the most attractive option for advertisers.
Market researchers The NPD Group caused a stir yesterday when it forecast an upward spiral in pay TV subscriptions—from an average $86 in 2011, to $123 by 2015 and $200 by 2020.
The cause: The “perennial tug-of-war between cable operators and creators of programming over who gets the bigger share of ever-rising cable payments,” as the New York Post summarized it. TV program licensing fees, which drive up pay TV monthly rates by an average of 6% per year. Interestingly, that is just one to two points behind the average upfront price hikes.
The challenge: Consumer household income has remained essentially flat. That is partly why 16% of U.S. households do not currently subscribe to pay TV services. Another factor is a sharp rise in housing vacancies due to the mortgage crisis, which has taken five million fewer U.S. households off the pay TV grid. Still, total pay TV subscriptions in the U.S. have not declined much, due to bulk-service contracts with apartment complexes and home owners associations that enable operators to retain subscriptions in vacant homes.
The result: “As pay TV costs rise and consumers’ spending power stays flat, the traditional affiliate-fee business model for pay TV companies appears to be unsustainable in the long term,” said Keith Nissen, research director for The NPD Group. “Much needed structural changes to the pay TV industry will not happen quickly or easily; however, the emerging competition between S-VOD and premium-TV suppliers might be the spark that ignites the necessary business-model transformation of the pay TV industry.”
Where Cord Cutters Get TV
Advertisers will follow the viewers, wherever they are, be it watching broadcast tube or online. Based on the latest information from NPD’s “Entertainment Trends in America” report, pay TV cord cutters reported cancelling their subscriptions primarily because of economic considerations; however, they are still accessing TV programming from—
- free-to-air broadcast
- free Internet TV (e.g. from network websites and ad-friendly Hulu)
- lower-priced subscription video-on-demand (S-VOD) services, like Netflix (which is increasingly making noise about advertiser support)
But they do so grudgingly. “Despite the plethora of OTT options for movies and TV, most consumers want their pay TV providers to be central and relevant to the acquisition and viewing experience,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group. In fact 59% of pay TV subscribers preferred having one single provider for their pay TV services, compared to 21% who desired multiple providers, and 21% who expressed no preference. Sixty-two% of subscribers wanted premium TV either delivered by their pay TV provider directly, or from a service affiliated with their pay TV provider. Only 20% of pay TV subscribers were likely to cancel their pay TV service, if they could get their favorite shows online.
“Pay TV providers offer a convenient, one-stop shop for subscribers, and the majority of customers like it that way,” said Crupnick. “There is an open window for the industry to meet consumer needs and become to television what iTunes is to music; however, there is also a definite risk if pay TV providers don’t capitalize on the opportunity—and soon.”
Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18% since 2007, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while nearly half (47%) of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, confidence declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009. Still, the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media, such as television. In 2011, overall global ad spend saw a seven% increase over 2010, according to Nielsen’s most recent Global AdView Pulse. This growth in spend was driven by a nearly 10% increase in television advertising, with countries, including the U.S. and China, attracting more advertising dollars versus the year prior.
“While brand marketers increasingly seek to deploy more effective advertising strategies, Nielsen’s survey shows that the continued proliferation of media messages may be impacting how well they resonate with their intended audiences on various platforms,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. “Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible. As a result, successful brand advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”
Nielsen’s survey shows that 58% of global online consumers trust “owned media,” such as messages on company websites, and 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible.
Forty percent of global respondents find product placements in TV programs to be credible, while 42% trust radio ads and 41% trust pre-movie cinema messages.
Trust in Online Ads
Thirty-six percent of global online consumers report trust in online video ads, and 33% believe messages in online banner ads, up from 26% in 2007. Ads viewed in search engine results are trusted by 40% of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey, up from 34% in 2007. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible by 36% of global respondents.
“The growth in trust for online search and display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium,” said Beard. “Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ recommendations and online opinions. Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow.”
Trust in Mobile Ads
According to Nielsen’s survey, one-third of global respondents trust video or banner display ads on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. Approximately one-third (29%) of global online consumers said they trust mobile phone text ads, an increase of 21% since 2009 and 61% since 2007.
When considering ad relevance, 50% of global online consumers find TV ads to be personally relevant when they are looking for information on products they want or need, particularly among consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, where 65% find TV ads to be highly pertinent to their needs. By contrast, 30% of European respondents consider TV ads to be relevant.
One-third (33%) of global respondents find online banners ads to be relevant, compared to ads on social networks (36%) and online video ads (36%). Forty two% of global consumers find ads in search engine results relevant.
“The high cost of advertising in today’s fragmented media world forces marketers to strive for the most effective and efficient ads,” said Beard. “In order to boost advertising ROI, marketers need to make sure an ad’s content and message is relevant to the consumer who sees it. While we expect to see high relevance levels in ads where the consumer is actively seeking information, such as on a brand’s own website or solicited emails, Nielsen’s survey shows that there is still much potential for marketers looking to reach the right audience through advertiser-driven messages.”
This is becoming an oft-told tale—the paid-for but unseen ad.
As eMarketer describes, “ad impressions” are treated synonymously with ad views, but findings from comScore and ad verification provider AdSafe Media reveal that raw impressions do not deliver the value advertisers believe it does.
comScore analyzed the display ad campaigns of 12 major brand advertisers, and found that on average, 69% of ads were in-view (meaning, a user saw 50% of the ad or more for at least one second). The larger the website, generally, the greater the percentage of in-view display ads. The top 50 sites for each brand’s vertical had the highest in-view percentage at 77%; that percentage declined to 70% among the top 500 sites, and to 61% among the “long-tail” sites, after that top 500 cutoff.
Publisher ads were more likely to be in-view than those from networks and exchanges (the other two inventory sources). Just 24.3% of publisher ads were never in-view, compared to 45.5% of platform and exchange ads and 41.3% of network ads. Clearly, publishers know their field.
The size of an ad unit also affects how frequently an ad is in-view. comScore found that leaderboard ad units (728x90 units displayed across the top of a page) were in-view most often: 74% of the time. Medium rectangles were in-view 69% of the time, and wide skyscrapers (spanning vertically down the page) had the lowest in-view rate (66%). That is because users must often scroll down the page to see these ads in full.
The uptake is that a significant number of all display ads served never make a branding impact. The digital ad industry is attempting to rectify the problem with its Making Measurement Make Sense (3Ms) initiative. This initiative, led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). The initiative calls for a set of standards across the industry and the need for a true measure of ‘viewable impressions’.
The average cost-per-click on a Google search ad returns a value of $10 per click for each keyword, finds a Washington University (St. Louis) research team. Maybe more.
As the university describes, the researchers found that the value of Google search advertising is grossly underestimated, because conventional methods of measuring return on investment (ROI) of online search ads fails to account for “cross-channel sales spillover.”
Dr. Tat Chan of the university’s Olin Business School and his colleagues developed an empirical method that to estimates the lifetime value of customers acquired from search advertising, and from multiple data sources. This method provides advertisers with a long-term and more complete measure of the value of customers acquired via Google search.
Google’s total advertising revenues in 2010 were $28 billion, up from $439 million in 2002.
As the researchers described, an advantage of search advertising is that it creates a better fit between a potential customer’s needs and the advertised message. It reaches a large audience with immediate interest in the product, so, both stimulates sales among existing customers and helps acquire new customers.
But conventional methods of measurement were insufficient. They “Just [look] at online transactions, that are one-time transactions,” says Ying Xie, PhD, associate professor of marketing. “But in our method we propose that we should think about the customer’s lifetime value…they could be an active customer, repeatedly making purchases. The cumulative amount of these purchases — that’s the profit stream we should take into account.”
The researchers merged web traffic and sales data from a small U.S. company to create an individual customer-level panel that tracks repeat purchases, both online and off-line, and identifies if those purchases were referred from Google search advertising.
The results demonstrated that customers acquired through Google search advertising showed a higher transaction rate than customers acquired from other channels. Taking into account future purchases and spillover to off-line channels (e.g., the customer bypasses the web for a second purchase), the calculated value of new customers is far higher than the value obtained using conventional methods.
The team developed an integrated model of customer lifetime, transaction rate and gross margin. Based on their model’s estimates, they find that the firm would incur a loss of $48 on average to acquire a new customer if using the conventional method. But after accounting for sales spillovers across channels and the long-term effect, they estimate the value of customer acquisition as high as $950 per customer.
The challenge of this new multichannel online/offline methodology is that it is not yet standardized; Nielsen, comScore and other companies are still perfecting the methods of quantifying exposures across media: quantifying the ultimate ROI is the likely next evolution.
The team presented its findings in its paper, “Measuring the Lifetime Value of Customers Acquired from Google Search Advertising,” which took the University’s 2012 Olin Award for relevant and performance-enhancing applications to critical management issues. The Olin Award for faculty research was initiated in 2007 by Richard Mahoney, executive-in-residenceat Olin and former chairman and CEO of Monsanto Co.
While broadcasters envision fans interacting with reality TV stars or voting for their favorite singers with apps, it turns out there’s a “higher purpose.”
Fans' primary reason for participating in social TV activity is to “keep my favorites on the air,” according to TVGuide.com user research, released in partnership with the Social TV Summit. In a survey conducted in March, 76% of respondents said keeping favorite shows from being canceled was their main motivation for social activity, up from 66% in 2011.
The definition of social activity in the survey included a broad variety of social actions, including posts, status updates, check-ins and comments on social networks, fansites, official network sites, and entertainment sites and apps such as TVGuide.com. TVGuide.com, which has more than 24 million monthly unique users, leads the mass market in mobile and social TV with over 6.5 million mobile application installations, 500,000 social Watchlists created, 7 million TV check-ins, and Social Power Rankings, a daily curated feature of user-generated activity.
Additionally, the survey found changing behavior related to when TV fans participated in social activity. Of those who participate in social TV activity, 95% said they do so after watching a show (up from 68% last year), 40% participate during a show (up from 33%), and 53% before a show (up from 52%).
Fans also experimented with a variety of different social apps, websites and experiences related to major live TV events:
- 62% had some intention to use apps/websites/experiences during the Super Bowl, while 58% actually did
- For Grammys and Oscars on average, 57% had some intention to use apps/websites/experiences, while 80% actually used them
- 33% of respondents said they participated in social activity because they wanted to say something about the event, while 69% wanted to see what others were saying
Whatever the buzz about the new iPhone and Apple-friendly digital magazines, Google’s Android platform is the king of the hill.
comScore has today released data from its comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending February 2012. comScore found that Google Android continued to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone market, crossing the 50% threshold in February to capture a majority share for the first time in its history.
The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.6% market share.
OEM Market Share
For the three-month average period ending in February, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.6% of U.S. mobile subscribers, followed by LG with 19.4% share. Apple captured the #3 ranking in February with 13.5% of mobile subscribers (up 2.3%), followed by Motorola at 12.8%. HTC moved into the #5 position in February at 6.3% (up 0.4%).
Smartphone Platform Market Share
More than 104 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in February, up 14% versus November. Google Android’s share of the smartphone market eclipsed 50% in February, an increase of 17% since February 2011. Apple ranked second with 30.2% of the smartphone market (up 5% versus year ago), followed by RIM at 13.4%, Microsoft at 3.9% and Symbian at 1.5%.
Mobile Content Usage
In February, 74.8% of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 2.2%. Apps were used by 49.5% of subscribers (up 4.6%), while browsers were used by 49.2% (up 4.8%). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 3.1% to 36.1% of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 32.3% of the mobile audience (up 2.6%), while 24.8% listened to music on their phones (up 3.1%).
The Association of Magazine Media (MPA), working with a coalition of senior magazine executives from throughout the industry, has developed a common set of definitions, a consistent position on timing for data release, and guidelines around tablet metrics, it was announced today by Nina Link, President and CEO of MPA. These voluntary guidelines are intended to provide enhanced understanding and clarity about the measurement of magazine media audiences on tablets for the advertising community.
As Adweek describes the need for guidelines, the various rules sets for determining how magazines can access tablet subscriber information across different platforms has irked publishers, and “Apple has always been especially stingy with the statistics.”
The guidelines are voluntary, but ad buyer Robin Steinberg of Mediavest called the voluntary guidelines an "excellent first start" toward a standardized measurement model for tablet editions. “It will be interesting to see who leads and who follows,” Steinberg told Adweek."
“The tablet guidelines have been created to recognize the need within the advertising community for greater insight and understanding into how to best leverage this powerful new platform,” said Link. “Tablets are one of the fastest-growing consumer electronic devices in history. They are ideally suited to leverage the incredible strengths of magazine media content. Tablets create a highly immersive experience for readers; a dynamic, new environment for advertisers to connect with magazine audiences; and almost unlimited opportunity for our brands.”
The recommended guidelines are the first deliverables developed by the MPA Tablet Metrics Task Force, a group of magazine executives charged with the creation of guidelines and metrics for tablets. The group has been meeting since the last quarter of 2011. The Task Force consists of representatives from seven magazine media publishers: Bonnier Corporation, Condé Nast, Forbes, Hearst Magazines, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith Corporation and Time Inc. Seven advertising agencies were consulted about the guidelines as well as the MPA Executive Committee.
Among the guidelines that MPA helped advance are five initial recommended metrics for use by magazines, agencies and advertisers:
1. Total consumer paid digital issues
2. The total number of tablet readers per issue
3. The total number of sessions per issue
4. The total time spent per reader per issue
5. The average number of sessions per reader per issue
“The iPad has been around for two years, while magazine brands have been available on digital newsstands for less than a year,” said Michael Clinton, MPA Chairman and President, Marketing and Publishing Director, Hearst Magazines. “In that short period of time, magazine brands have already established a strong relationship with readers. That new experience requires new language and baseline metrics for the magazine media planning community. This initiative will enable a broader understanding of the power of tablet magazines and facilitate faster adoption of tablet advertising.”
“This initiative and the increased transparency it provides will enable Ford and our agency partners to better leverage our marketing dollars in this growing consumer media platform,” said Matt VanDyke, Director, Marketing Communications U.S., Ford Motor Company.
The Task Force also created an initial set of terms and definitions that provide advertisers and publishers with a suggested common language.
Link also announced voluntary time frames for the release of tablet metrics. For monthlies, the MPA Tablet Metrics Task Force recommends the release of metrics data in 10 weeks from the newsstand on-sale date. For weeklies, the Task Force suggests the release of metrics data in seven weeks from the newsstand on-sale date. The time frames provide a four-week window for the extended capture of metrics as well as a two-week period of data analysis.
“This voluntary release timing is the most accurate method we have of capturing the incredible engagement that readers have with their tablet issues,” said Link. “Our research tells us that magazine readers continue to engage with their tablet issues as long as a month or more after the on-sale date of the publication and we need data that reflect this engagement. As we learn more about the reader experience, we expect to be able to shorten the reporting time frame.”
Link added, “These voluntary guidelines are an exciting first step in an evolving process and they will continue to be refined and revisited by the MPA Tablet Metrics Task Force.”