On the heels of a strong third quarter, Meredith Corp. announced that it is expanding its Sales Guarantee program following a successful inaugural year. Just four days earlier, the company released its fiscal third quarter results which showed digital advertising revenues up more than 55 percent.
The Meredith Sales Guarantee program pledges an increase in sales performance for brands that advertise in the company’s portfolio of women-focused magazines. Brands participating in the first year of the Meredith Sales Guarantee experienced an average return on investment of $7.81 for every $1 invested in advertising in Meredith magazines, a statement from the company says.
On average, says Meredith, its magazine readers generated an increased sales lift of nine percent on advertised brands in categories such as food, beauty, household goods, and over-the-counter drugs. More than half of the buyers were new purchasers to the specific brands in the program.
While detailed specifics on the expansion of the Sales Guarantee have not yet been released, a spokesperson for the company says additional categories will be added to include the pharmaceutical, automotive, retail and financial services industries. Though details are still being finalized, the number of clients who can participate will also be expanded—in the first year, Meredith limited it to 12—and in the coming months the company will be providing insights into new research on the ROI for print magazines versus ROI for digital portals/ad networks.
Meredith Digital Revenue Up 55 Percent in 3Q
Meanwhile, according to the company’s fiscal 2013 third quarter results released late last week, digital advertising revenues grew by more than 55 percent in the third quarter. Total ad revenues grew by about $5.7 million to $128.7 million year-over-year for the three-month period ending March 31.
The digital boost is attributed to the addition of Allrecipes.com, which the company acquired in March 2012, and also helped to grow digital traffic by more than 45 percent during the same period. Since the Allrecipes acquisition wasn’t completed until March 1, 2012, digital revenues on a comparable basis for the period grew by 16 percent, while combined print and digital revenues decreased 3 percent during the same period due to acquisition timings.
Meredith also generated 3.8 million digital orders for print magazine subscriptions during the first nine months of fiscal 2013—a 75 percent year-over-year increase.
Total revenues for the National Media Group grew 6 percent from the prior-year period to $284 million, and circulation revenues grew by $15.1 million year-over-year to $91.4 million when comparing the three-month period that ended March 31.
“We are realizing the benefit of our recent acquisitions, which we’ve now fully integrated into our creative and sales structures,” Tom Harty, National Media Group president, says in a statement. “We also continue to leverage our expertise across media platforms—as demonstrated by our very successful test issue of a print magazine for the Allrecpies brand, the introduction of new mobile apps, and a significant increase in video content creation.”
In January, FOLIO: asked Harty to make some market predictions for 2013. Watch his Q&A below: