Media Facts

Advantages | Disadvantages | Plus Radio

The magazine industry seems to have chosen the divide and multiply strategy of adapting to the contemporary marketplace. Diversification and specialization have increased the number of magazine publications to over 20,000, according to the National Directory of Magazines. No matter what the interest or taste, there is a magazine for it. In fact there are probably several. These specialized publications allow advertisers to reach their target market with pinpoint accuracy. With digital photography, powerful graphics software, and photographic programs like PhotoShop, magazines are filled with incredible advertising images born from brilliant creative minds.

As with television, agencies love working in this medium because of the creative possibilities and the resulting commissions. Because magazines are usually read multiple times by multiple people, they provide advertisers with impression frequency not achieved in daily newspapers and weekly tabloids. Certain categories of business tend to gravitate to magazine advertising. Automotive because of the ability to show cars in some very creative contexts. Cosmetics because of the marketing power of beautiful models and talented fashion photographers. Furniture and home accessories because of the readers of home and décor publications and the opportunity to show them in beautiful model homes. In general, people love to see products in the context of their vision of how their lives should be, and magazines are the perfect format for those visions.

The drawbacks to magazine advertising for local advertisers are significant. First of all, great magazine ads are expensive to produce, and you better have a great ad if you want to stand out amongst all the other ads. Fragmentation creates the dilemma of deciding exactly which magazine is the best choice. They don't provide the flexibility needed for day-to-day or week-to-week adjustments of an advertiser's message.

If you have a customer who is considering or currently using magazine advertising, you can point out how Radio can be synergistic with the medium. The right format can deliver added impressions when paired with a magazine that targets the same lifestyle group. Radio can drive readers to the advertiser's magazine ad. Radio can communicate special offers and events to the market on a daily basis and offer promotional support, as well. Radio commercials may not sit around on the coffee table, but they can do a great job of motivating consumers to buy the coffee table in the first place.

Presented correctly, that's a concept you can get your customers to subscribe to.

Targetability: With a range of titles that appeal to a wide variety of demographics, lifestyles and interests, advertisers can focus on those consumers that fit their needs.

Strong Visuals: Magazine ads can be highly creative and aesthetically appealing through the effective use of photography, graphics, color and copy.

Portability: With the exception of in-car reading, magazines can be carried by consumers and read almost anywhere, at any time.

Advertorial: An in-depth advertising message can be created to appear more like editorial copy than an advertisement, although most magazines require such advertorials to be identified as advertising rather than editorial content.

Localizing: Regional/local editions, polywrap inserts, and local "vista" magazines offer local advertising opportunities.

Engagement Options: Ads can be viewed/studied at readers' leisure.


Competition: There are too many magazines – and too many choices. Advertisers and consumers have more than 20,000 magazine titles from which to choose. The proliferation in the number of magazines means audience fractionalization, and most magazines actually miss most of their avowed target audiences.

Time: Adults spent an average of 20 minutes per day with magazines in 2010, down from 25 minutes in 2008 (these 20 minutes can also include simultaneous use of other media, such as listening to the radio or watching TV). (eMarketer, 2010)

Clutter: Magazines contain so much advertising that ad readership and recall is minimal. In 2009, the ratio for consumer magazines was 44% advertising pages and 56% editorial pages. (Magazine Publishers of America, 2011)

Inflexible: Because of lead time, advertising must be prepared long before publication dates, prohibiting advertisers from responding instantly to changing market conditions.

Expensive: Increased distribution and production costs have forced magazines’ cost-per-thousand to rise dramatically in recent years.

Reader Information: Specific issue audience data is not typically available.

Long Shelf Life: Makes it difficult to promote a time-sensitive message.

Plus Radio

Excellent Reach: Although adults typically only browse through a fraction of all the titles in the magazine rack, Radio’s superior reach (93% of adults each week and 72% of adults each day) can draw attention to the magazine just for them…and your ad. (Arbitron RADAR 108, 2011)

Clutter: Radio can break through the ad clutter found in magazines by conditioning readers to identify with – and respond to – your magazine advertising. You can improve on magazines' low ad readership and recall scores by adding a cost-efficient Radio schedule to your media mix. This way you can extend the reach against your target consumer and build the message frequency necessary to a successful campaign.

Inflexible: Lead time is measured in days or weeks for a magazine ad. Radio requires a lead time in terms of hours. Add flexibility to your ad campaigns by utilizing Radio.