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Study: Magazines Beat TV In ROI

by Erik Sass, Tuesday, Oct 7, 2008 4:06 PM ET

A new study of magazine advertising ROI by Marketing Evolution found that magazines are the most cost-effective means of influencing consumer behavior at certain stages of the decision-making process, or “purchase funnel,” beating out TV and online media. Specifically, magazines dominate two crucial stages: brand familiarity and purchase intent.

The Marketing Evolution study is actually a continuing meta-study, based on a survey of 38 different studies commissioned by various clients in recent years.

The most recent edition adds 18 studies to the 20 originally surveyed for Marketing Evolution’s cross-media accountability study published in 2006. Both focused on big categories, including automotive, entertainment, electronics and pharmaceuticals.

Marketing Evolution used an ROI model based on “cost per impact” in three stages of the purchase funnel–brand awareness, brand familiarity and purchase intent. Impact was assessed quantitatively in each case, meaning that Marketing Evolution assigns numerical values to things like knowledge about a particular product, planning to look for it in the store, etc.

At each stage, ROI was defined by three interrelated measures: the average number of people influenced, the number influenced per $1,000 of advertising spending and the cost per individual impact, a per capita figure. The study used TV as an index of 100 because it gets the largest portion of ad dollars. In all three stages, TV dominated the first measure–total number reached–for reasons of scale. However, magazines proved more cost-effective in brand familiarity and purchase intent.

In the first stage–brand awareness–Marketing Evolution examined how consumers came to be aware of the existence of a particular brand. Here, magazines almost pulled even in terms of people reached per $1,000 of ad spending, with 91 versus 100 for TV. Magazines came in between TV and online for cost per impact in this stage. TV led with $0.98 per impact, with magazines following at $1.08 and online trailing at $1.97.

Moving on to brand familiarity, magazines were almost twice as effective as both TV and online in number reached per $1,000, indexing at 181 people reached versus 100 for TV and 101 for online. Put another way, the per capita cost to increase brand familiarity was about $1.40 for magazines versus $2.61 for TV and $2.58 for online.

Finally, magazines also dominated purchase intent, influencing 145 people versus 100 for TV and 68 for online. Expressed as a per capita expenditure, magazines cost about $1.23 per individual impact, versus $1.77 for TV and $2.61 for online.

October 30, 2008
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