Should you advertise in magazines? It depends. Not that long ago, the answer would have been a big fat yes, but now. Well, now I’m not so sure…and that’s what I tell my clients too.
Why have things changes?
Before I continue, and before you think I hate all magazines, I really, really don’t. A number of publications in all areas do a great job. They produce engaging articles, they have great competitions, there’s a layer of social media built in and they have a great website that continues the user experience online. They have good circulations and an engaged readership. These magazines are good and, if they fit your target market and you have the funds, then these could be a good place to advertise. I say could because you should still research and find out what you’re actually going to get for your money and if this is likely to generate the return on investment it should. It could work for you. And in that case the answer to ‘should you advertise in magazines?’ could be a yes.
Many magazines have been hit hard – some really hard – by the success of the internet and the explosion of social media on all different platforms. Many have adapted. A lot haven’t. The ones who haven’t have seen drops in circulation, a decrease in quality, a drop in pages, a reduction in the quality of the content inside the publication (but the cover price and ad rates have remained the same). It’s packed full of articles written by PRs because the magazine can’t afford ‘proper’ writers. And this makes me sad. You’ll often find a pretty basic website and dull social media platforms with no real engagement behind these publications. And then you know what happens? They stop. They just can’t afford to carry on. But that’s not the point.
Does advertising in printed media have value?
Advertising in the printed press can have value. If the magazine fits your brand, has a good circulation (or at least a good quality, engaged circulation – you don’t always need huge numbers if the quality is there), has good social media platforms, quality content and ideally adds layers of social media, editorial coverage and other elements to your package, it can be good. Really good. This means you are getting as much as you can and, therefore, have a greater chance of seeing the return on investment you need.
So, should you advertise in magazines?
If you have a really limited budget – and I’m going to be honest here – I would look at social media. Because if you place one ad, for one month or week, and that’s your ad budget gone. Well, you’re screwed really (unless it was the most amazing ad in the world for the most amazing product and everyone bought it). If you have a seriously tight ad budget, I’d honestly look to put this towards advertising on social media – where your clients and target clients hang out. I’d save the printed ad, if you want, for when you have more money to spend on advertising. Obviously I’d look at a LOT of other things too, PR, marketing and promotion isn’t just about ads, it’s about amazing social media content, influencers, content marketing, working with the media – the list goes on and on and one! But that’s just my take on it. The real choice is yours- it’s your money!