Advertising Trends

The Future of Advertising For The Economist.
Posted: July 3, 2012

Summarizing a 2012 Economist Group annual report, Oscar Grut explains how The Economist will move forward by understanding that the web has changed reading habits, that they have a unique readership, and how the concept of digital advertising and other marketing services will grow.

The first point Grut makes about the plans of The Economist is it is “fortunate because tablets, e-readers and smartphones allow our readers to enjoy the ritual, lean-back, immersive experience of reading The Economist that they love in print.”

Grut also points out that because these readers are developing “new reader behaviors” this is not only changing the way The Economist does business, but it’s also changing the way they use advertising as well. According to Grut, when it comes to advertising with The Economist they “deliver solutions for clients based on the two distinct experiences that our readers look for: the socially powered, lean-forward community experience at Economist.com; and the lean-back, immersive, reading experience of digital editions.” More importantly, they ”are able to command higher prices for advertising than others because of the unique audience we have and their engagement with us that is at the heart of the community model of Economist.com.”

Furthermore, Grut highlights that digital advertising for The Economist “offers the best of both worlds: the brand impact and beauty of print and the interactivity and measurability of the web.” This means that not only are advertising dollars growing for The Economist, but they also have “new opportunities from selling advertising in digital editions”. Grut also asserts that there will be a stark difference with the new advertising online compared to the advertising that The Economist uses within their print edition. It will be “[o]ther marketing services such as thought leadership” that will “replace the rest” and “[g]rowth will come from increased profit from digital circulation.”

CPS's Analysis - Grut’s first point that the web is changing reading habits is an important facet of The Economist’s digital strategy. The “lean back and savor ritual” of a printed page became the “lean forward, snack, and interact” experience of a website and tablet/mobile devices. The lean back ritual didn’t go away, nor did the lean-back readers. As Grut asserts, many of their readers opt for both experiences. Thus, The Economist is trying to bring the best experience a platform can offer because readers have become omnivores in their platform choices and are looking for different experiences consuming the same “brand.”

However, Grut’s second and third points need additional emphasis here in our analysis. Grut’s second point is The Economist audience is unique and engaged. They are interested in engaging in both the “lean-back” and “lean-forward” reading experiences. If The Economist plays its cards right (and Grut emphasizes that they have) readers who supplement their “lean-back” experience with some “lean-forward” snacks, and readers who prefer the “lean-forward” experience exclusively will help make up for inevitable declines in the print-only side of the business.

Moreover, Grut’s final point is, in order to remain successful The Economist is rethinking their vision of advertising and advertising revenue. Online advertising is not merely a digital form of print advertising, it encompasses things like thought leadership, sponsorship, creating collaborative ad networks, and capitalizing on the features of new platforms that enhance and expand the “lean-back” and “lean-forward” experiences. In other words, they have two very distinct approaches for advertising. It is this kind of forward-thinking that has allowed The Economist to consistently grow its business over the years, even through the recent economic downturn.

The economistgroup.com summary"The Economist Group's Digital Strategy." written on June 18, 2012


All Print Advertising is Not Equal.
Posted: June 7, 2012

Ad agency president Marc Brownstein cites a 2012 MRI Data Report finding that the biggest gains for magazines have come from 18 to 34 year olds. And yet, he writes, there is a “separation of perception and reality” among advertisers and clients that magazines should be put into the same group as newspapers when it comes to advertising. Brownstein points out that the MRI report states that readership in magazines has increased in “every age group and gender category” when compared to newspapers, according to the MRI study.

Brownstein’s ad agency, The Brownstein Group, puts its money where its mouth is by consistently advertising in local and regional magazines as well as utilizing online avenues such as SEO, banner ads, and e-mail marketing.

Brownstein argues that many of his clients want “consumers to start a dialogue with their brand,” but that’s not enough. He believes the best way to start such a dialogue is by “creating a compelling idea” and then using multiple platforms such as magazines, tablets, TV, social media, mobile, PC, and live events to reach customers.

Overall, Brownstein makes the point that perceiving magazines as an outdated medium is clearly false. Those who go against the grain and break free of this perception are the ones who will benefit the most down the road.

CPS's Analysis - We heartily agree with Mr. Brownstein’s opinion that advertisers should not see newspapers and magazines as the same. Although both are a part of the print industry, they should be viewed as two distinctly different advertising vehicles.

We also applaud Brownstein’s view that to reach a broader audience, and thus more customers, one must approach new customers through the many platforms that these potential customers use. However, believing that you should reach a customer only through new mediums is a limiting view, in Brownstein’s opinion and ours as well. The new mediums of mobile and tablets have reinforced, NOT replaced, the old mediums of print. Just as TV was layered on top of radio over time, we believe one medium simply incorporates the other over time.

With this attitude and approach, advertisers will not merely retain their current customers by using print, but can attract a newer, younger crowd via new mediums. Both CPS and Brownstein believe both that multiple platforms will, over time, reach more customers. The perception that an older medium should no longer be used simply because there are new mediums available will only exclude the most loyal customers. It is critical that advertisers and their clients understand they can maximize their message, reinforce their brand, and gain new customers by diversifying their advertising message across multiple advertising platforms.

The Adage.com article "Why Magazines Deserve More Ad Revenue Than They’re Getting." written on June 5, 2012


Magazine Industry Develops Voluntary Guidelines to Drive Growth of Advertising on Tablet Devices.
Posted: April 2, 2012

Seeking “to provide enhanced understanding and clarity about the measurement of magazine media audiences on tablets for the advertising community”, the Association of Magazine Media’s Tablet Metrics Task Force announced voluntary guidelines regarding the gathering and reporting of tablet metrics. The guidelines set forth common definitions and guidelines for tablet metrics, as well as defining parameters for data release and reporting. The intended goal is to provide advertisers with a more complete picture of tablet usage in the magazine readership. The Metrics Task Force recognizes that tablet users have a high level of engagement with their devices and that “magazine readers continue to engage with their tablet issues as long as a month or more after the on-sale date of the publication.”

CPS's Analysis - The lure of and continuing strong consumer demand for tablet devices such as the iPad seems to make digital tablet issues of any magazine a no-brainer. But, without strong metrics and analytics regarding how tablet users use their devices, it is difficult for publishers to justify the effort and expense involved in producing digital issues of their magazine. Additionally, it is difficult to attract advertisers without reliable data regarding the tableted readers. Anecdotal evidence is entertaining, but real data yields ROI for publishers and advertisers. This voluntary effort, combined with the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ proposed breakdown of digital magazine circulation, should yield reliable data. The combination of MPA/ABC information with SEO analytics and other Big Data sources should give both publishers and advertisers a clearer picture of their audience and of the future.

The Association of Magazine Media article "Magazine Industry Develops Voluntary Guidelines to Drive Growth of Advertising on Tablet Devices." written on April 2, 2012


The Challenges of "Print-to-Online, and Online-to-Print"
Posted: October 28, 2011

CPS's Analysis - Conde Nast has released a print version of their Style.com website. “We wanted to give the reader a sense of what it is like to go through the journey of the shows, from New York to London to Milan to Paris,” Dirk Standen, the editor of Style.com, told the New York Times. It will be interesting to see how this reverse move (online to print) goes. CPS believes that in today's world of ever-evolving information dissemination, it doesn't matter which way you go -- print-to-online, online-to-print -- you're faced with the same challenges regarding readership, content, presentation and advertising.

The New York Times article "Finally, the Web at Hand" written on October 26, 2011 by Eric Wilson.


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