PacMags backs print; set to launch advertising ROI guarantee

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 15 October 2015

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Pacific Magazines is prepared to back print and is poised to launch a guarantee that ads which run in its print titles will deliver results for advertisers.

The move is hot on the heels of an announcement made by publishers in the US this week that they are forming an industry-wide guarantee that will see publishers giving advertisers a rebate if ads don't deliver ROI.

The Print Magazine Sales Guarantee was announced by the US-based Association of Magazine Media and its members, including Time, Conde Nast, Meredith, and Hearst Magazines.

While the Australian market is without any such guarantee, Gereurd Roberts, commercial director for PacMags, told AdNews that the publisher is putting its money where its mouth is and is readying to launch its own offering. It worked with long-term partner, Meredith, which is part of the US deal, to formulate its own offering.

“Meredith are fantastic partners and they pioneered this program in the US. They've got a huge amount of data and really rich insights, which is incredibly valuable for us, and what we've seen from them, in terms of how they structure this and results, is just incredibly powerful and we think it will be here,” he added.

In the US pilot, Meredith has delivered on every campaign to date, with some 50 campaigns in market. Roberts expects similar results here.

“They're yet to fail,” he said. “That supports our belief that magazines are still incredibly effective. Magazines do still work and we're prepared to back them. We've got plenty of data to support that, but this is us putting our money and our media where our mouth is.”

AdNews understands the guarantee could roll out in early 2016, with PacMags already in talks with agencies. Pacific will be going out on this venture alone, but Roberts isn't against opening up the project to Magazine Publishers Australia (MPA) and getting the other publishers involved. “We'll prove it works and then we'll be happy to extend it, as they have in the US, to the rest of the MPA. They're just like us – they back their magazines and our peers at Bauer and NewsLifeMedia do as well,” Roberts said.

When it comes to media buyers they wholeheartedly agree it's an interesting move, but there are questions around how it will work.

Lisa Vercoe, business director for Vizeum, told AdNews: “In a world of media fragmentation, having accountability and measurement is a good thing, however, there is a risk with magazines that have been promoting their cross-platform capabilities that any measurement they implement should be around brand.”

Executive director of technology, digital and content at Starcom Mediavest Group Australia, Jason Tonelli, agreed saying it's a fascinating play. He’s also curious about the metrics and how it could work, adding that it could change the conversation around investment.

“It depends how they define ROI,” Tonelli said.

“Will this be based on 'true' ROI? Or a half and half model, i.e. you get half back if only half the ROI is met? There are lots of questions.”

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