NEWS9 May 2012

Print advertisers call for better digital magazine reader metrics

Data analytics North America

US— Print advertisers are pushing magazine publishers for more in-depth metrics about readers of digital editions, stressing the need for an accredited third-party system for measuring readership across devices.


In an open letter to the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies ( 4A) suggested that the recommended metrics recently outlined by the MPA do not go far enough.

MPA currently recommends that publishers report:

  • Total consumer paid digital issues
  • Total number of tablet readers per issue
  • Total number of sessions per issue
  • Total time spent per reader per issue
  • Average number of sessions per reader per issue

Acknowledging these as “a step in the right direction”, the 4A’s print media committee has issued their own recommendations.

Alongside the need for an accredited, third-party research vendor to measure digital readership, committee chair and GroupM director of print George Janson wrote that advertisers also want to see tablet audience metrics broken out by subscription and single-copy sales, as well as for subscriber data to be separated between tablet readers who get the digital edition as part of a print subscription and those who purchase a digital subscription directly through their device.

Janson said that engagement metrics should also include the average time readers spend with enhanced digital ads – those that include media such as videos and slideshows, for example – and data on actions taken when readers engage with embedded links and “hot spots”.

“In order for us to effectively measure ‘total magazine brand’ delivery, it’s critical for us to assess unduplicated readers on tablet devices versus websites or print editions,” said Janson. “At the very least, we should also receive basic demographic information such as: male/female split, age and median household income.”

GfK MRI is likely to be a strong third-party contender for any digital magazine measurement task. It launched a syndicated ad measurement service for digital editions in February.