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4 Magazine Advertising Strategies to Improve Your ROI

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Mar 04, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


Print advertising naysayers like to point out certain facts that support their narrative while ignoring facts that don’t. For instance, they might tell you that overall, magazine’s circulation numbers have decreased in the past decade, proof, they say, that consumers are spending more time getting their information from digital channels. No one will deny that since the dawn of the Internet, print publications have had to work harder to keep their readership.

But here are some facts that print doomsdayers don’t like to talk about: The fact that the number of magazine readers in the United States has increased since 2012 or that magazine advertising revenue has remained relatively consistent since 2010.

These number illustrate two key things: People still love reading tactile magazines and advertisers are still using this channel to get their offer in front of their audience.

Here are some of the main benefits of magazine advertising:Woman lying on a sofa while holding a magazine in a living room

  • Magazines put readers in a positive frame of mind so they’re receptive to the ads inside. Beyond this, the positive brand image of the magazine is transferred onto the advertising brands.
  • Unlike online ads that are totally distracting, which is why so many people are blocking online ads, magazine advertising is respectful. The magazine reader is in control of which ads they interact with and when. This also makes them more receptive.
  • Magazines allow marketers to easily target their message with precision and without wasting their ad spend.
  • Magazine readers take action after seeing advertisements in magazines.

4 Magazine Advertising Strategies to Follow

Now that we’ve covered the WHY of magazine advertising, let’s dive into the HOW. If you want to get the greatest return on your advertising investment, follow these 4 magazine advertising strategies:

  1. Do Your Homework

You wouldn’t use a hammer to paint your house or a crowbar to flip and egg. It’s important to use the right tool in advertising as well, so you’ll have to do some research to ensure you select the right magazine for your audience and message.

You’ll first want to determine which magazine(s) caters to your target market segments. For instance, if you sell organic cloth diapers, it makes little sense to advertise in a hunting magazine. Determine who your ideal prospect is and then think from their POV to determine what kind of information or form of entertainment they prefer.

  1. Determine Reach

Once you determine which magazines make the most sense for reaching your target audience, you’ll want to figure out what kind of reach it has. The sales rep should be able to provide you with circulation numbers. Pay attention to the number of direct subscribers to the magazine’s circulation ratio. This number is important because many magazines sit on the shelves of book stores and grocery stores but are never purchased.

It’s also a good idea to ask about which states the magazine is distributed in, its cycle, pricing and market image.

Knowing market image is important because this is the subscriber’s perception of the magazine’s quality and content. Magazine A might have a lower circulation rate, but if it has a better image than Magazine B, it has a greater chance of being read by your prospective customers who will then view your ad and place more trust in it.

  1. Decide Where Your Ad Should Go

You’ve chosen which publication makes the most sense, now you’ve got to determine where your ad should be placed. According to research from the Rochester Institute of Technology, ads placed next to the table of contents get the most eyes on them. Since this is a coveted spot, these ads are usually sold at a premium price.

So what if you don’t have a big budget? Look to place your ad next to an article or editorial that is related to your offer. Another option is to piggyback and place your ad next to another prominent ad. Doing this allows you to leverage someone else’s healthy budget and use their ad to draw eyes to yours.

  1. Make Your Budget Work Harder

Speaking of budgets, smart advertisers stretch their ad dollars as far as they can possibly go. One way to do this is to ask your sales rep for a media kit that lists the rates for the various ad sizes, so you know exactly what you are getting.

Also keep in mind that sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money. Depending on your offer and your ideal prospect, getting your ad professionally designed can mean the difference between seeing a 2% increase in sales or a 7% increase. It might make more sense placing a smaller ad and using that extra money to have a polished ad designed.

No matter what those print naysayers preach, print advertising is not dead. Far from it. In fact, advertising in magazines is still one of the most effective ways to get your message in front of just the right audience. If you haven’t included magazines into your marketing mix yet, now’s a great time to get started.


magazines magazine readership magazine advertising ROI