LONDON: As magazine media become increasingly defined by content rather than platform, media planners need to rethink their role in the media mix, an industry figure argues.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to use magazines effectively in the media mix, independent consultant Marius Cloete, writing on behalf of Magnetic, the UK magazine trade body, notes that magazine media remain popular, reaching 90% of the US population and 72% in the UK.

"Reach is, however, of secondary importance when planning magazine media," he states. "It is magazine media's ability to deliver highly engaged, highly targeted audiences with little wastage that makes them an essential part of the modern media mix."

Not only are magazine media effectively self-targeting by nature, readers are more likely to give them their full attention. And the immersive experience they deliver also stimulates the three key drivers of long-term memory encoding: narrative, emotion and personal relevance.

Magazine media also play a vital role in creating meaningfully different brands, he adds.

"Their particular sweet spot is to act as a key driver of the metrics that help consumers understand what sets one product apart from another (dynamism and uniqueness), a critical element in helping consumers narrow down product choices immediately prior to purchase."

That is best achieved by utilising the full spectrum of magazine media options: combining print and digital doubles the impact on brand KPIs, for example, while native and advertorial solutions can deliver against multiple KPIs because they allow more detail to be communicated.

Further, print's strength lies in delivering relevancy, whereas digital builds quality perceptions, says Cloete.

There is also evidence that magazine media's online formats outperform other online options, such as those provided by social media, portals and content aggregators, with higher interaction rates and greater emotional resonance.

And, he says, media planners need to look beyond the traditional use of magazines as an add-on to television brand campaigns. "Magazines have a vital role to play in generating a sales uplift in both the short and long term," he maintains.

Data sourced from WARC