Ads in magazines have more impact on consumers, with less cost, than ads on either the Web or television, an extensive new study indicates.
"Overall, magazines drove consumer behavior more effectively and efficiently than television or online among consumers who were reached by each medium," according to a summary of the Dynamic Logic study prepared by the Magazine Publishers of America. Though it didn't commission the study, MPA has good reason to publicize the research company's findings, which are based on an aggregation of 39 different client-commissioned studies.
Magazines kick butt especially when it comes to influencing whether "consumers have a favorable opinion of the brand" and whether they are likely to purchase a brand, the study found. In both categories, they have more influence than TV or the Web combined.
Magazines have a slight lead in aiding brand awareness and are virtually tied with TV for ad awareness.
Of the five stages of the "purchase funnel", magazines lag behind TV (but not online) only when it comes to "message association" -- that is, whether consumers "can match the message and/or concepts in the advertising . . . to the brand."
In other words, print can't match TV for embedding messages like "Tastes Great, Less Filling" or "15 minutes can save you a bundle" onto our brains. But in their own subtle way, magazine ads actually influence consumers far more than more memorable TV ads.
Magazine ads don't scream at you or pop up on top of something you're trying to read. Readers accept them, and even welcome them. Subscribers to fashion magazines would feel cheated if an issue had no ads. No one reaches for the mute button or clicks "Skip this ad." when they see a magazine ad.
In competing with the Web, the difficulty of measuring the impact of ads has been the Achilles heel of magazines. But when they do bother to measure, companies are likely to find that magazine advertising is still a great bargain and an effective way to influence what consumers buy.