The publishing industry has been transforming its business from print-only to providing multi-platform content. Media owners, now more than ever, are experiencing different competitive challenges in every market with traditional and non-traditional channels, with the latter never before seen as competitors. Some compete head-to-head against a rival publication or magazine. Others see challenges from online-only platforms. Advertisers, we are told, have advertising and marketing spend, but are simply not interested in print display only. Creative solutions, accompanied by lead generation, are the keys to success.
Recognizing these market realities, BPA introduced the Brand Reachsm Audit Report one year ago. It has received advertiser and publisher acclaim. The Brand Reach Audit is a custom solution; publishers pick and choose the content platforms they wish to report. This is now our approach to every table in the Brand Reach report. For example, in one table the publisher can present the touch points they elect to report in a matrix so readers of the report can see the number of users per platform and what other platforms they consume.
In another table we provide recency of involvement rather than the traditional source and age analysis. Advertisers have indicated they are not interested in the date someone requested an E-newsletter. They are interested in the involvement of that subscriber, in this case, when it was last delivered. Same goes for webinars: the date of the registration is not critical to the advertiser. Advertisers want to know whether the person attended the event, rather than simply register. For web sites: how many unique browsers visited last month? What did they look at? How long did they stay?
As with these other forms of media, we are exploring ways to report on recency of involvement of the print subscriber. At present it is being measured by when the subscriber asked for the product or the date of the source of the subscriber’s name. Publishers we spoke to would prefer to report more than a request for a magazine as an illustration of engagement. But we are not there yet. If you have any ideas please post them in the Comment section below.
In the near future, as early as 2011, Brand Reach may replace the traditional BPA Circulation Statement as the single source of truth for brands. There is a progression to this. Circulation Statements have taken the first step by providing month-by-month web measurement along with the month-by-month circulation data. Now is the time to look at the ability to customize the circulation report further to provide advertisers exactly what they need in a given market—no more, no less. In preparing for this and in responding to market needs, we have been discussing this with our advisory boards and committees around the globe which will culminate in a late-May corporate board meeting and decision.
Beyond serving existing members’ needs, this customization proposal will very likely entice a number of former members to rejoin. Since July 2008, nearly 700 members have resigned from BPA with one third having ceased altogether. This was offset by 258 new members. Further, 600 web sites are now audited by BPA Interactive powered by Nielsen.
In considering a change to the process in which media owners promote their brand uniquely as they build their own Brand Reach report table by table, there is a school of thought that the Circulation Statement report format should allow media owners to customize their report according to market demand. Let the market decide what it is “need to have” data versus “nice to have (leads to no increased ad spend)” data. For example, some markets need a very elaborate matrix of business and occupation coupled with buying influence and multiple job responsibilities. Other markets simply need a descriptive sentence or two of the very finely defined audience being qualified and analyzed.
Our proposal calls for a two-page “baseline” report as the common denominator. It is made up of required data in each table. From there, members may choose from a menu of items to include in the report by channel. There may be many or few value-added options chosen from the menu to create a report that is custom-designed specifically for the market and competition. Audit fees for the baseline report will continue to be dictated by total distribution of the publication or magazine and the number of pages in the report.