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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Inside Ad Page Counts 

I was tooling around the IMS/The Auditor website, looking for some data for a client, and came across the company's Magazine Health Watch (Click this link, then look on the left navbar under Publishing Solutions. I can't provide a direct link, evidently.)

You can grab and download significantly more data than you'll find in the usual ad page roundups, which use IMS' numbers, and there are some interesting data points that I haven't seen much highlighted in the b2b media trades.

For example, IMS/The Auditor shows that the number of advertisers it's tracking in b2b magazines has risen 13% this year-to-date (through July) versus last year-to-date. This is offset by the fact that ad pages on a per-advertiser basis are down 11%. But it's a number that also gives me hope. If b2b media is attracting more advertisers to our magazines, we then have an opportunity to increase the number of ads they place, if we do a good job.

Here's another interesting look: ad pages as a whole are up 1%, but per-issue ad pages are up 3% (we've published 2% fewer issues in 2005 than we did in 2004).

There's a profit impact in both of these numbers. Lower-frequency advertisers pay more, and should theoretically be more profitable on a yield basis to publishers (though some of this is offset by higher sales and servicing costs in going after lower-frequency business), and more ad pages in fewer issues at a higher yield is usually going to look good on the bottom line.

Of course, that's a generalization, as are most pronouncements on ad page totals, since the performance of individual markets and titles is so varied. But you can drill down a little bit into these numbers, and that make them food for thought.

Side note: ABM has launched T-BIN to track b2b trade show revenues and attendance figures.

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