Are You Getting the Most out of Magazine Advertising?

Are You Getting the Most out of Magazine Advertising?

  • Sean Press
  • 1738
  • magazine advertising rates
  • magazine rate cards

We all know it’s been a bumpy ride for print media, and when considering magazines in particular, we all know too that there have been some “interesting” changes; we use the word “interesting” loosely to accommodate the wide and varied experiences you may have had with magazines.

Nevertheless, no matter the experirence, one thing is certain: the magazines that have survived, have come out the other side of the digital hurricane with so much more to offer. Not only are these magazines showing off their resilience and adapatability, but they now also offer extended technological advancements and a new, stronger community-based readership.

So, when now looking at magazine rate cards, you need to ask yourself: What am I actually buying?


The first idea to consider when looking at custom magazines is the opportunity to buy

influence over readers instead of looking to buy reach. Custom magazines have a much higher value proposition for advertisers – this being focused, high-profile target markets that carry influence.

For example, Acumen magazine, published by Contact Media on behalf of the Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS Business School), appeals to, and is read by, leaders from various sectors of business and commerce in South Africa. Market research shows that the Acumen reader is dedicated and engaged and has disposable income and extended influence.

The reader is considered very carefully when Acumen magazine’s content is created, in order to serve content that is challenging, questioning, relevant and focused – created specifically for this market. By serving quality content, the magazine is building reputation and influence with an audience that themselves has reputation and influence.

Focused markets, economically

Obviously with bigger budgets come more above-the-line campaign possibilities in channels such as television and radio, and of course these channels offer massive reach. But, do you need such a wide, “spray-and-pray” reach for your product or service? Take an acne product on television for instance: If you consider that you are paying for each viewer that sees your acne television advert, and that each one of those viewers does not necessarily fit into the probable age of actually having acne, and are therefore not your market, then that’s an awful lot of waste… especially for a “cautious” budget. However, when it comes to custom publications that have a very focused market, the likelihood of the majority of that readership to align with your products is high because you have targeted your market carefully and economically.

Therefore, you would have made a valuable advertising investment with less waste and more focus. In any market, you should be looking to put spend towards these kinds of audiences, as well as with magazines that have quality brand associations and which speak to leaders of the industries they appeal to.

Loyalty and trust

As a business owner, your marketing objective is always to make a return on your advertising investment, whether short or long term. Ultimately, the question to ask yourself when looking at a magazine rate card is: what is my investment?

Very simply, the answer to that question should be: dedicated readers, with long-term loyalty, that are segmented into highly specific interest groups or communities (as mentioned before). Magazines have varying readership sizes, but the benefits of highly targeted audiences that are loyal to curated content stretch far and wide.

Consider the relationship a magazine cultivates with its readers. We emphasise the impact of content on this relationship, basing it on trust, insight, consistency and depth. Readers become emotionally invested and are more likely to spend money on brands that are associated with the magazine of their choice. We call this brand loyalty or trust.


The US Learning and Literacy Report of 2015 found that: Only 23% indicated that they are easily distracted when reading print on paper, whereas electronic media showed distraction rates ranging from 42% for e-readers and up to 66% for mobiles and smartphones. The Report also states that 64% of consumers pay more attention to advertising when reading magazines in print. The nature of digital consumption is fast paced and fleeting, and readers are more engaged and retain more information when reading hard copy, print publications.

Although social media platforms and the Internet have enabled a fast-paced style of content consumption, this does not change the fact that magazine content is still widely consumed and trusted. The longer readers look at your advert, the more likely they are to remember it and act on it at a later stage. This concept is termed the Opportunity To See (OTS) and acts to compare the time taken to effectively consume what you are reading or looking at. The Publishing Research Council states, “Only print gives you multiple OTS.”

Possible reach

Eventhough a custom magazine is served to a niche or focused market, the potential of custom titles to effectively reach a large audience is also significant. Custom magazines can be described as having a long lifespan, which means your advert lives longer to be seen by more eyes. When we look at the circulation and readership of custom print magazines, the benefits of an extended lifespan are clear. The number of magazines in circulation does not define the number of readers. If a custom magazine has 40 000 copies in circulation, the readership could, in fact, be 160 000. High-quality magazines are passed on, read by multiple people, and this means each advert lives longer. If a doctor’s consulting room stocks a copy of a magazine, that magazine could be read by as many as 30 people in one day.

Much of your Return On Investment (ROI) will be based on which publication you choose! As mentioned above, aiming for the largest audience does not necessarily always offer the best ROI. It’s as simple as “quality over quantity”.

Check out our article How to Choose the Right Magazine Publisher for Your Print Media Advertising for further tips.

Contact Media and Communications, as an example, has a number of publications with a dedicated audience. As mentioned before, the quality of the audience members you reach is more powerful than the quantity. Contact Media and Communications also has a proven track record of growth, reliability and notable reputation. This is something you should always look for in a partnership with a publisher. Even though we have numerous publications, as a company much time and effort has gone into understanding our various target audiences. Because of this, we can tailor make content that is highly appealing to these individuals. When consumers engage with tailor-made content they engage for longer.