Power of print continues to shine

By Jon Watkins – March 28, 2019

In an increasingly complex publishing world, where audience engagement relies upon a mix of print, digital and experiential offerings, research and audience insight are more important than ever.

That research was in evidence at the recent FIPP & UPM Insight Awards, an annual event which highlights research-driven pieces of work that have enabled publishers to materially improve their business. And what was strikingly apparent from this year’s winning entries, was the prominent role still played by print publishing among the many successful multi-platform strategies delivering great audience engagement and success.

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Take this year’s overall winner, for example – a partnership research programme carried out by Immediate Media, Bauer, Haymarket and Dennis.

The objectives of the programme were to explore the role and influence of motoring magazines in the car purchasing journey, the role they play in building brand awareness and consideration, and how advertising within motor magazines amplifies editorial content.

In doing so, it looked at the auto-purchasing journey – timescale, what prompts a purchase, how consumers’ choice of possible cars changes across that journey. It looked at the role of and media – which media purchasers consult when buying a car and the role each media plays. And it looked at the role of advertising in motoring magazines compared to editorial content – what benefit readers get from the ads.

What the researchers found was that print motoring magazines play a vital role in the purchasing process. Magazine readers, it found, make up one-third of all car buyers but are responsible for 60 per cent of new car purchases. They spend on average GBP£33,000 (USD$43,000) on their new car, often own several cars, and are early adopters who influence other car buyers.

Magazines, the research concluded, have the ability to create awareness and inspire desire for new brands, change brand perceptions, encourage buyers to aim higher, increase excitement around the car-buying process, and help buyers make a decision – demonstrating that print’s influence remains powerful.

Another winning entry, from Magnetic, in partnership with Mediacom and Code, focused on a core strength of magazine brands – trust.

It found that magazine brands outperform social media in six out of eight categories when it comes to trust: fashion, beauty, motoring, news, home and entertainment. Social media and in particular Instagram was most trusted for food.

“We were also able to prove a brand rub effect: trust in a magazine brand translates into perceptions of trustworthiness for brands who use this environment,” said Magnetic’s head of insight, Anna Sampson.

Magazine brands, and print titles in particular, clearly continue to add great value to publishers’ portfolios and content eco-systems. That’s why we continue to support the publishing industry – both by sharing success through partnerships such as the Insight Awards and through constant print innovation.

The awards not only enable media companies and trade associations to highlight how research-driven work has materially improved their business – across both B2B and B2C projects. The winners also receive global recognition – no matter where they are based in the world or how far their projects reach – showcasing their understanding of the importance of insight and what it can help publishers achieve.

It is this type of partnership – and the type of research shared at this year’s Insight Awards – that will ensure print publishing continues to add value, and that those delivering it are able to demonstrate that value.