Case study: What you need to know about magazine advertising today

Case study: What you need to know about magazine advertising today
Magazines have always provided an emotional and immersive experience for readers, creating opportunities for brands to reach engaged audiences. Now new research from Nielsen and FIPP delivers the data to prove it.

Magazines have always provided an emotional and immersive experience for readers, creating opportunities for brands to reach engaged audiences. Now new research from Nielsen and FIPP delivers the data to prove it.

Publishers have long known magazines are deeply engaging for their readers, and that engagement translates to benefits for their advertisers. Experience shows magazines offer readers a personal moment of leisure, a unique chance to emotionally connect with a pleasurable read. And common sense says these immersive experiences should deliver engaged audiences to advertisers, particularly when product offerings jibe with magazine content and consumer interest.

Common sense appears to be right. Thanks to the recent completion of Nielsen’s Media Engagement model as part of its Consumer Media Insights (CMI) tool, magazine publishers have the numbers to back up their experience. Combined with FIPP’s Proof of Performance study, the research demonstrates the engaged environment magazines offer readers results in excellent sales conversions for advertising partners.


The relationships magazine readers have with their favourite titles is unique, and one of the things that sets magazines apart from other media. Proof of Performance calls the process of selecting and engaging with magazines ‘friending‘, because the way consumers choose magazines is remarkably similar to the way they choose friends. First, shared values, interests and aspirations are identified, then a deep personal connection is established, resulting in a ‘best friend’ relationship — entertaining, inspiring and trustworthy.

magazine readers are more engaged

As consumers move more towards multi-screening behaviours, where attention is divided between several mediums at once, magazines are one of the few channels still delivering audiences with complete focus. The ‘magazine moment’ is not a shared experience, it is a personal treat — highly engaging and completely consuming.

“A magazine moment is a treasured break from work, housework or homework,” says Katrina Horton, commercial director for the Magazine Publishers Association. “It’s a completely positive time emotionally, taking our readers away from their everyday lives.”

The pleasure readers get from magazines means they dedicate time to reading – Nielsen’s CMI shows 78 minutes per issue for primary readers. More meaningful though, is the number of times each issue is picked up. Contrary to popular belief, a single issue does not offer a single viewing opportunity. The average number of pick-ups for each issue is 5.7 times for primary readers, meaning advertisers have the same number of opportunities to be seen by those readers. The implications for advertisers are positive. Magazines offer an attentive, emotionally involved audience receptive to all content, including advertising, and repeat opportunities for engagement.

magazines are a pleasurable reading experience

Magazines drive action

Magazine readers are more receptive to advertising messages, with 76 percent of readers finding advertising less intrusive than
TV or radio, according to Nielsen’s CMI.

When compared to other media, magazine advertising stacks up very favourably. Readers trust information in magazines six times more than that from outdoor advertising, and find magazine advertising relevant – 72 percent more than its online counterpart. Sixty-eight percent of readers purchase as a result of reading about a product in a magazine – that’s 62 percent more than the comparable numbers resulting from television viewing.

A more receptive advertising environment results in higher purchases. Homescan data shows magazine buyers tend to spend more at the supermarket, spending an average of $27 more with magazine purchase than without.

magazines drive supermarket purchases

In the digital realm, magazines are also proving to be highly effective at driving online research – 76 percent of consumers visited a website after seeing magazine advertising, compared to only 48 percent of television viewers.

magazine advertising drives purchases

Engaged, immersed and trusted

Magazine readers are a highly engaged audience, immersed in the content and open to the advertising opportunities within. Readers choose magazines the way they choose their friends, so trust develops. Time spent reading is focused and set apart from diversions, meaning readers are highly engaged, and the shared interests and trust results in a receptive advertising environment. This in turn drives action, resulting research, word of mouth, and sales.

readers trust magazines - research

For more information on the engaged and receptive audiences magazines can deliver, please contact Katrina Horton, commercial director at MPA, on

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