Should magazine advertising still be getting a piece of the precious pie that is your advertising budget?


ABC results for Consumer Magazine between January – June 2017 were released yesterday.

Results were mixed. Whilst some magazines soared (John Lewis Edition up 2.3% YoY), others flopped (Closer down 20.7% YoY).  With this in mind, we are taking a look into the market overview of magazine advertising.


It is no secret that print has had a tough few years, with local newspapers disappearing and nationals making the move to online. The cost of print is still rising and many magazines are facing a similar fate. With circulations dropping it seems that we may have lost faith in the traditional paper and ink media to reach the audience it once did.


Before we sweep magazines aside in our eagerness for newer and more ‘innovative’ ways to spend our budgets, we should probably have a look at some research (any excuse to look at graphs and whatnot).


  • Magazine media reaches 37 million adults every month
  • 9 million adults enjoy magazine media websites via a desktop each month
  • Consumers spend over £1.2bn annually on magazine media
  • Monthly magazine media now reaches 71% of the UK adult population
  • 70% of ABC1 Men consume magazine media each month


Source: NRS PADD January – December 2016 


It is undeniable that there are other types of media which can provide a much higher reach than any magazine can claim, but when it comes to the effectiveness of the advertising and the level of engagement with that audience there is a lot of research which suggests that magazines still come out on top.  You can check out some case studies that prove this over at the magazine trade marketing body, Magentic, here.


The ads in a magazine are seen as an integral part of the experience and are considered less intrusive and annoying than ads in many other media, with commercial television and radio ads rated worst.  In fact, a survey done in the US in 2005 found that 48% of magazine readers thought that advertising actually adds to the enjoyment of the medium.


We don’t talk much about magazines because they’re not seen as exciting. There are many more innovative and ‘sexy’ formats popping up every day, and who in the world of marketing doesn’t want to be seen as ground-breaking? But at a time when we’re coming up against online ad blockers, time-shifting on television, issues around brand safety, accountability and are still waiting for mobile to come up with a format which doesn’t infuriate users; a type of advertising which actually adds to the users’ enjoyment should not be ignored.


We’re always on the lookout for innovations in advertising formats but the bottom line is that we want people following our call to action, and if this comes from an old favourite like magazine advertising, then we’re happy to play it safe.


Sources:  ABC, NRS PADD January – December 2016