Nielsen’s study into advertising returns has published its findings and the clear message they are giving media buyers is that magazines deliver the best return on ad spend.
The global study of consumer packaged goods advertising found an average return of $3.94 for every dollar spent on magazine advertising, putting the print platform no less than 50% above display advertising, its nearest rival, which commanded a return of just $2.63.
“The NCS data set integrates 90 million households of in-store purchase data, with each of the media platforms in a single source to determine the incremental sales impact of advertising,” Nielsen explained in the report’s accompanying press release.
The study used new methodology to measure the impact of “secondary print magazine audiences” – ‘passalong’ customers in the same household or workplace who read magazines after the first reader has finished with them – have on sales.
“This new approach provides the ability to measure cross-media impact and captures print magazines’ total audience, allowing publishers to accurately compare print magazines’ contribution to sales versus other media.”
The news was greeted enthusiastically by publishers such as Caryn Klein of Time Inc. who said, “With the inclusion of secondary audience impact, it now places print on an equal playing field with other media and we can unequivocally prove the importance of including print in the mix, given the strong ROAS that it provides for our marketing partners.”
The study looked at products across seven categories – baby, pet, health and beauty, general merchandise, food, beverage, and over-the-counter products. Intriguingly, digital video, which has attracted an increasing amount of ad expenditure in recent years, showed the lowest ROAS at just $1.53 – less than 40 percent of the figure magazines achieved.
The authors of the study were quick to point out that “ROAS is impacted by the cost of the media”, and when considering incremental sales per exposed household, linear TV performed best, while mobile drove the highest incremental sales per thousand impressions. But in terms of value for money, they fall well short, suggesting that a print magazine campaign is by far the wisest way to spend an advertising budget.