As a value added marketing tool, many publishers offer their advertisers a “free” ad readership study as an incentive to place an ad in a particular issue of their magazine. Ad readership studies can be an extremely valuable tool for marketing professionals interested in evaluating the success of their ads with a particular audience. Often an ad that works with one audience will not work for another. For example, a building or facility manager might be more apt to look at and read about product/services that can help them maximize the function or operation of their building. An architect, on the other hand, would stop, look at and read ads that contain interesting designs or building materials. While traditional ad readership studies provide advertisers with valuable measurements on the percentage of the magazine audience who saw or read their ads, they do not provide advertisers with information on what made the ad a success or failure. The publisher of Buildings & interiors+sources magazines was looking for a way to provide their advertisers with information to help them produce more successful ads within their existing budget.
After meeting with the client to clarify their goals for the ad readership studies, Accountability Information Management (AIM), Interline Creative Group’s sister company, designed an online custom ad readership survey. This new survey would not only provide the client’s advertisers with key ad seeing and reading scores, but would also include specific measurements on what they noticed in the ad and how much of the ad they read. Was it the graphics, headline or product that caused them to stop and look at the ad? Or maybe it was something else? In addition to just providing the scores, this study was designed to provide rich verbatim comments on the audience’s opinions of the ad. Unlike other ad readership studies, the AIM survey asks the respondents who did not see the ad to take a closer look at it and to provide their opinions. This additional step supplies the advertiser with constructive information on why the ad didn’t catch their attention or why they didn’t read the ad. The AIM survey is also structured to provide the advertiser with two unique scores—the ad’s effectiveness to pique the reader’s interest and to provide the information they need/want for their job. To assist the publisher with presenting this new type of ad readership study, AIM also provided the publisher with an online training webinar for their ad sales reps designed to give them tips on how to best use the survey results to benefit both the advertiser and their magazine.
With AIM’s custom ad readership survey, the publisher is able to provide their advertisers with valuable audience feedback they can use to design more effective ads. In addition, the publisher’s ad representative now has more information about the ad to open a valuable discussion. Often times, the advertiser tries to hold the publisher accountable for their ad’s low performance, but in fact, the publisher can’t control how their audience reacts to the ad. With specific readers’ verbatim comments and creative measurements, the publisher can offer the advertiser audience driven suggestions to help make their ad more successful. Since this research is designed to be audience specific, the advertiser can also apply the research findings to other media vehicles the advertiser may be using to reach that particular audience. This new type of ad research survey is a win-win situation for both the publisher and their advertisers.