Why Europe is Ahead of the U.S. in Auditing Digital Magazines
An open rate that means something.
A digital magazine story making the rounds on the Web is about a subject some publishers dread and media buyers have suspicion: digital magazine open rates. Napier News asked a few European digital magazines what their open rates were. The admittedly informal query yielded the following:
Four titles had open rates of 11-12 percent
One title had an open rate of 16 percent
One title had an open rate of 19 percent
A media buyer hearing these numbers might conclude¬†that digital editions are useless for advertising.
But there's a huge difference between digital magazines created¬†as replicas of print magazines¬†for the¬†convenience of¬†readers¬†to¬†archive and search their print publications and those "designed for digital" publications created to fight¬†for audiences in competitive¬†online environments.
"Designed for digital" publications have much higher open rates, so much so that many are making their case with advertisers without discussing open rates.¬†¬†¬†¬†
In Europe, the recent ABCe¬†audit for digital only publications makes its core metric copies delivered and opened. By design, this audit does not mention how many copies/invites are originally sent out to achieve this. In other words, if an ABCe audit for digital only magazines confirms a 100,000 monthly circulation, it means 100,000 copies sent are opened by readers that month. The audit will not share how many copies/invites were originally sent out to achieve that 100,000 number.¬†¬†
If advertisers are not told how many issues are originally sent out, they cannot calculate an open rate. I think this is terrific, because it shifts the question "What is your open rate?" to "What can we achieve for this¬†advertiser with these delivered and opened copies of this digital magazine?"
I¬†have not heard of an audit for digital-only magazines in North America that¬†verifies open rates. Please post a reply if you know of one.
If none¬†exist, I would encourage North American publishers to press their audit organizations¬†to create an appropriate audit for digital only editions
-- Josh Gordon is president of Smarter Media Sales.com where he works with publishers to maximize their online and print revenue through training, consulting, and representation.
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