The Impact of Print Magazine Ad Placement on Readership
October 2010 -- Starch Advertising Research recently undertook an analysis on the effect print magazine ad placement has on reader attention. The analysis compared ad placement next to different types of editorial content as well as placement opposite other ads.
Starch examined 67,904 advertisements appearing in consumer magazines from January 2009 through June 2010 -- across 1,884 magazine issues—according to their adjacencies.
Starch's analysis found that:
- Magazine advertisements placed next to a Table of Contents (TOC) has a strong impact on readership—on average, there was an 8% difference between readership of ads next to a TOC versus ads next to any form of editorial (editorial, or as it is called, edit, is defined as table of contents, relevant article (article related to the adjacent ad), cover story, or any article. This placement represents a 28% lift in readership when comparing TOC adjacency to being next to another ad.
- Ads placed next to editorial, on average, are read by more consumers than ads next to other ads. Specifically, ads next to edit are, on average, read by 51% of magazine readers compared to 46% of readers who noted ads adjacent to other ads. When calculating lift in readership, ads adjacent to edit get an 11% lift when compared to ads adjacent to other ads.
Graphic Source: Gfk MRI
- The analysis finds that, in general, the type of editorial content an ad is next to doesn’t have much impact--with the exception of TOC adjacency. Otherwise, being placed next to a relevant article did not increase readership any more than being next to any article. Starch notes that there are exceptions. For example, Starch states that "Women’s Fashion and Beauty books seem to buck the 'it is better to be adjacent to edit than ads' trend."
- Examining the efficacy of other forms of positioning, Starch found that ads in the front of a magazine tend to be read by more readers than ads in the back of the magazine. In addition, they have found no difference in readership scores between ads on right-hand versus left-hand pages.
Source: Gfk MRI, Cover-to-Cover: Insights from Starch Advertising Research into Print Ad Effectiveness, October 2010.