With the continued growth of media brand extensions – including print, digital and face-to-face – marketers and agencies are faced with many more channel options to reach their desired audience, but they need media owners to sort out all that data and present it all on a single report.
In other words: It ain’t just about selling the print publication anymore. To allow buyers to make the most informed decisions, media owners must recognize that presenting their brand’s full audience reach in the marketplace is the best – and maybe only – way to garner attention during the media evaluation process.
“The media landscape has evolved so much that it requires us to be able to take a holistic view of all channels, offline and online,” explained Keith Betz, Group Account Director at Butler/Till. “Finding the right media partner often depends on their ability to quantify campaign impact that multiple channels have when running simultaneously. For example, a publisher that can offer a strong print title and deliver the same quality audience with a robust digital campaign, is going to be in a better position to deliver results for our clients. Especially if we know that the media consumption habits of that target audience are shifting towards digital.”
Betz added that “very few of our current campaigns focus on one channel and that’s largely based on the fact that very few people only consume one channel. It’s a multi-channel world that we live in and the sooner that media owners integrate that idea into their business model the better for them, us and, ultimately, our clients.”
Joel Redmount, Group Account Director at OMD in New York, echoed Betz’ point of view. “Gone are the days when buying into a magazine meant simply running a page of advertising,” he explained. “It’s much more multi-layered now. We are buying content now, played out across multiple media platforms, and investing in the reader’s interest in engaging in that content, regardless of the channel through which they receive it. We need a level of accountability across those multiple layers.”
According to recent data, BPA media members are listening. For the six-month reporting period ended December 2013, 420 titles – 34% of all reports – analyzed two or more audience channels. Fast forward a year and BPA has posted 480 multi-channel Brand Reports (41.6% of all reports) for the period ended December 2014. That’s nearly a 15% increase in just a year.
“Additional channel data is absolutely, positively invaluable – there is substance, there is a connection between print and digital products, it all makes our planning/recommendations much easier to defend – it’s truly a beautiful thing,” adds Robin Farewell, Partner and Director of B2B Media at Eric Mower and Associates.
For all BPA media, the December 2013 period saw a total of 2,571 total audience channels reported, with an average of 2.1 channels per brand. The December 2014 period brought a 9.5% increase in total channels reported to 2,815, with an average of 2.4 channels/brand.
But while media buyers appreciate the increased efforts to report more audience channels, Farewell points out that a continued lack of reporting consistency in the marketplace – with media owners presenting unaudited data or data verified to lesser standards – makes the evaluation process a challenging one. “The only drawback (and it’s a big one) is that the data is inconsistent – meaning, not all pubs/sites in a category have Brand Reports or use BPA as their third- party partner,” she said. “So, sometimes I look at one pub/site that does [have a Brand Report], but I have to rely on site direct stats or other third-party data to evaluate the others. It’s truly a mish-mash of data and sources. I look forward to the day when we have consistent data to evaluate media across the board.”