Magazines deliver best return on ad spend - US study

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 17 June 2016
Should advertisers think twice about leaving magazines?

Magazine advertising easily produces the highest return per dollar of ad spend and digital video the least, a comprehensive US study of consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertising has found.

Every dollar spent on magazine advertising produced a return of $3.94 in sales. Display yielded the next best return with $2.63, followed by cross-media campaigns ($2.62), linear TV ($2.55) and mobile ($2.45).

The worst performing category was digital video with a return of $1.53, while newspapers, out of home and other ad categories were not included in the report.

The results are interesting in that they row against current media spending habits. Magazine advertising is predicted to be one of the fastest shrinking categories this year, with ad spend in Australia to decline by 17.1% to $319 million as publishers increasingly transition to online and mobile apps, according to a ZenithOptimedia report.

Conversely, online video is predicted to be one of the fastest growing categories, with marketers desperate to pour more money into the category.

The Nielsen Catalina report analysed 1,400 studies over 11 years and includes 450 CPG brands in the US. Of the years analysed, 2011 was the golden era with every dollar of advertising returning an average of $5.28 in sales lift.

The best performing product categories were baby, returning $3.71 per dollar of advertising, pet ($3.06) and health and beauty ($2.82).

The study also looked at the ad categories that produced best results per household and online impressions.

Linear TV provided the best incremental sales per reached household with $0.33, followed by magazines ($0.26) and cross-media ($0.25).

Mobile topped incremental sales per 1,000 impressions with a $26.52 lift in sales, followed by digital video ($23.48) and linear TV ($20.56).

Ad spend - Nielsen Catalina

Ad spend return by year - Nielsen Catalina

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