During American Business Media's annual conference, which was held April 29-May 2 in San Francisco, Mark Wachowicz, senior VP-marketing and sales at the Audit Bureau of Circulations, spoke with several b-to-b media executives about the ABC's new Consolidated Media Report.
“People wanted to know more about it—what did it cost [and] how flexible are we,” he said. “This is going to be a cultural shift. It's the open architecture and flexibility of publishers to design a report that best tells their story.”
The Economist is the first weekly magazine to release a CMR, designed to verify a media brand's reach on different platforms. The CMR, an alternative to the ABC's Multimedia Publisher's Statement, enables b-to-b publishers to include data from such brand extensions as newsletters, websites, digital apps and social channels to help quantify the reach of a brand.
In order to produce a CMR, business publishers first need permission from each of their digital vendors to allow ABC to verify data the vendors have collected on behalf of their publishing clients. After the data has been verified by ABC, publishers can then customize the report and present it to customers and prospects.
“The reports that we've been most successful are [from] those b-to-b publishers that share like vendors, so we're able to go to the vendor with the publisher and be put in touch with the appropriate people,” Wachowicz, said. “We're not disrupting their staff; we're just getting the kind of data feeds we need to verify the statistics the publishers have.”
In its CMR, the reach of the Economist brand was detailed in numerous areas, such as combined print and digital circulation (893,208), total unique devices using the Economist app (255,425), total monthly unique browsers (3,592,144). The CMR also verified total newsletter distribution (16,407,019) and total unique opens (2,261,595).
In addition, the CMR tallied the Economist's social media interactions on Facebook (1,009,815), Google+ (502,118), LinkedIn (23,003), Tumblr (43,007) and Twitter (2,279,796).
“The momentum is building in the industry for people to be transparent and to have this data in a way that, if you are a media buyer or marketer, you can compare apples with apples, which was fundamentally what ABC has done for print,” said Paul Rossi, managing director -exec VP of the Economist Group, Americas. “Now you're starting to see that momentum coming for digital.”
He added: “One of the challenges is that the technology for measuring some of these platforms is still in its infancy. As time goes on we will start to add reporting around time spent reading apps, for example, which is one of the demands that media buyers are asking for.”
ABC's new report comes amid a groundswell of advertisers demanding that publishers provide more detailed metrics of their digital audiences.
Earlier this month the print media committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies sent a letter to the MPA requesting “rigorous transparency and accountability” for digital extensions of print magazine brands.
In February, BPA Worldwide started to offer clients a BPA Brand Report. It measures separately the audiences a brand reaches through print, websites, email newsletters, conferences and other media. The number of downloads of magazine apps can also be indicated in the report.