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How brands are switching their approach to magazine advertising

Brands are finding new ways of working with magazine brands, with closer editorial partnerships and personalised digital activity at the heart.

Magazine brands are having a tough time. Sales are falling, and you only have to look at the latest ABC figures to see how fast.

Women’s weeklies are particularly struggling. The circulation of Time Inc’s Look was down 35.4% in the first half of 2017, with sales for Woman magazine down 17.6%. Men’s titles, TV listings and home interest publications also saw sharp declines. News and current affairs titles fared a lot better, in part due to the tumultuous news agenda – thanks Donald Trump.

Simultaneously, advertisers seem to be moving away from the medium. Total ad spend was £877m in 2016, a decline of 6.8% compared to 2015 according to AA/Warc figures. It forecasts that ad spend will drop by a further 8.2% in 2017.

Despite these figures, magazines still play an important role in many brands’ media mix, and advertisers and publishers are finding new ways of working together. The days of advertorials are long gone, and instead of simply placing their creative in the right titles, many brands are eager to form integrated editorial partnerships instead.

“Brands’ starting point has changed and is now all about partnerships. They are much more integrated and are better amplified than with a purely advertorial partnership,” says Sue Todd, CEO at magazine trade body Magnetic.

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