What to Look For in a Publisher's Media Kit and Audit Statement

What to look for in a publisher's media kit and audit statement: Guidance for pharma marketers

There is much more to understand when using an audit statement or media kit than just the circulation figures and the page rates.

This blog will show you how to dig under the skin of the stats and really appreciate whether a magazine is right for your advertising!

Understanding media options

Understanding how to evaluate the best media partners is a crucial skill for any marketer. You have selected the media that looks like it could work, but now want to drill down into which publications are best. How do you cut through the jargon and get to the answers you need to plan your campaign?

First up is receiving the media kit from the rep. Always ask for their audit statement (sometimes called brand report in the US). If they have not got one, explore the reasons why not. It's by no means a bad thing if they are not audited, some great titles aren't and never have been, but if they are - always get the audit statement

An audit is an independent verification of a claim made for data relating to circulation, attendance or digital media activity, so they're more reliable figures than those in media kits. Media kits sometimes provide headline numbers combined to make headline circulation look better. The publisher isn’t pulling a fast one here necessarily, you just need to be totally aware that that 100,000 circulation figure given in the media kit may need a little more exploring as it might be a combination figure.

You can check a publisher is audited without the need for contacting them, through the search function on the main audit bodies website (BPA, ABC, AAM and VAC - links to each are below)

Dive deeper into the information

Beware the Asterisk*** Often stats may have a small asterisk with the footnote “publishers own data”. Make sure you explore this number fully with the sales rep.

It's not just print that can be audited. E-newsletter circulations and website traffic are all also auditable. Google Analytics is a good start, but it's not an audit. If they send across their Google Analytics info, be sure to ask for visitor numbers in users or impressions rather than sessions. Using sessions is a quick trick to inflate visitor numbers.

Also, when looking at digital stats from a publisher, don’t be fooled by app download numbers, these are not the same as readers in any way!

Qualified circulation

One important figure is the total qualified circulation because qualified subscribers are deemed to be the most likely to be in a position to purchase, whether or not they are free or paid subscriptions.

Rather than focusing on the global circulation numbers, grab a calculator and pay attention to (what is usually section 3) the business and occupational breakout of the qualified circulation. It tells the advertiser whether the publication reaches the customers you want to reach in number and percentile. This section will usually give you not only the industries in which qualified subscribers work, but their job functions as well. Tot this number up....if it sounds good to you, the publication could possibly do a good job for you

Do further research

Never be afraid to pick up the phone and get clarification from the rep on any questions on the audience breakdown - a misplaced advert is money thrown out of the window. Or better still, use an agency who knows the industry and who will be more than happy to do all this for you.

Here are some useful links: