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Ron Newman, 2007 Florida International University
I. Introduction The twenty-first century is the age of the Internet. The World Wide Web has changed many aspects of life considered inconceivable prior to its arrival a mere twenty years ago. The pace of its acceptance, preference, and profits grow exponentially each year. Entire industries such as real estate, education, personal finance and consumer music are in the midst of change because of the perceived benefits and predilection of consumers to this new form of communication and commerce.
Online or Perish No industry is feeling the pressure of this shift more than print media. Circulation of traditional print publications – newspapers and magazines continue to dwindle as consumers turn to online sites and PDA’s for news and entertainment. As consumers’ preference moves towards online media instead of the printed form, publishers have little choice but to follow the movement or fall to the wayside. Industry reports flood in daily (ironically via website) of massive shifts of strategy and resources to online publication models. The Society of Publishers in Asia has issued a call to arms in 2006 for print media to shift their business online, or perish (Anonymous, Media 2006)
The first high profile magazine to fold traditional publication in 2007 is Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Premiere magazine, announcing that the April issue will be its last. As this study was nearing completion, the third incarnation of Time Inc’s Life, as well as Meredith publication Child announced plans to stop traditional print formats. These three
magazines joins a list of prominent titles that ceased print operations in 2006 such as Teen People, Elle Girl, FHM (U.S), Budget Living, Cargo, Weekend, Shop Etc., For Me, Celebrity Living and Shape en Espanol. Although Premiere, Life and Child were deemed unprofitable in print the three magazines along with Elle Girl, Teen People, and FHM will continue being published on the Internet (Ives, 2007). The idea to simply switch publication to a virtual model makes sense; these titles have history and brand recognition. Websites that incorporate the brands People, Elle, Life and Premiere instantly have a leg up on the plethora of unknown websites rolling out daily.
Undoubtedly, some venerable titles have perished and others are on life support, but perhaps there is some hyperbole, and this rush to the exit is premature for traditional print. The key to profit in the magazine industry is advertising sales, not circulation. Figures from 2005 (AdAge, 2006) reveal that among the 300 highest grossing magazines ad sales make up 74.2% of total revenue. Magazine advertising revenue increased 7.2% in 2005 to $23 billion and ad pages increased .5% from 234,000 to 243,000. Nina Locke, President and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America revealed that for every 1% rise in ad revenue, approximately $1.3 billion in magazine revenue is generated (Scott).
As go the advertisers, so goes the magazine industry. To point out which way the advertisers are going, 2006 forecasts called for online marketing to grow 19%, six times the growth rate of print. Online mediums are being used by 80% of advertisers, a massive adoption rate that is set to hit 90% by 2008. Clearly such statistics are forcing the migration to online publication model. There is however, room for both; in fact online
advertising cannot work efficiently without the traditional print format. The ever-growing abundance of websites and Internet pages dilutes the strength of each successive ad placed. Consumers are typically exposed to offline advertising first (Kanso and Nelson, 2004). Print marketing is an indispensable part of the Integrated marketing mix; print is the largest driver of traffic to the web, underlying the connection between fiber space and cyberspace (Scott). These principles should lead advertisers to use traditional media as a strategy of building awareness and enticing consumers to visit a site.
Goals of this Research Research in the phenomena of online communications begun the moment the World Wide Web became a viable and growing source of communications. Analysis of this research however shows significant drawbacks and errors that make much of the theory out of date or erroneous. These drawbacks are not a fault of the professionals who carried out the studies rather that the nature and the uses of the Internet change in a rapid fashion. When the Internet first came to high prominence, few professionals, academic or in the business community truly foresaw the power or the speed in which the Internet would change industrialized society.
Secondly, after extensive review of previous academic material, it was concluded that analysis of traditional magazines as they relate to online magazine versions (a relatively new concept) was virtually non-existent. While economics and user statistics indicate that the online news and entertainment medium is growing at a phenomenal rate, the online magazine industry is one field that is still in its infancy and in need of analysis.
This study presents a concise methodology to compare the advertising content of the two mediums. The goal is to provide a standardized format for comparison and measurement that can be replicated many times and be broadened in scope and time frame or narrowed to nice publications.
As magazines transition to the Web, it is relatively easy to transport the stories to cyberspace; the advertising aspect is much trickier to handle. While stories are the backbone, the very skeleton of the magazine, advertising is the muscle (and the revenue) of the body. How do publishers effectively transport that integral part to the Internet and ensure the advertisers that they receive value?
Many of the industry leaders have yet to launch their online efforts while other publishers are struggling to find the right format. This study will survey the advertising composition of the fledgling online model as well as the traditional magazine model. To understand where the two mediums stand today, we need to take a look at past studies of this new media – the Internet to observe its peaks and its pitfalls.
II. Literature Review Traditional Media More Effective in Recall As soon as the World Wide Web became a relevant commercial medium, academics recognized the potential and set off to study this radical new model.
One of the earliest studies by Calder, Bezjian-Avery and Iacobucci (1998) understood the potential of the new model but realize that systematic research was required to reveal the true nature and measure the impact of new media advertising.
We wish to begin to understand whether interactive methods are truly superior to standard advertising formats, as the excitement about the new media would suggest. To this end we present an experimental study comparing consumer reactions to products advertised through an interactive medium with reactions to products advertised in a more traditional, non-interactive format.
The study identified the key feature behind new media as interactivity, the ability to control information. With interactivity, the consumer actively traverses the information that is presented. The information the consumer sees depends on where the consumer wants to go from one step to the next. Through the new media process, the consumer and the manufacturer enter into dialogue in a way not previously possible, enhancing both the consumer experience and the efficiency of the advertiser’s marketing dollar.
Conversely, the research team view traditional advertising as a presentation that is linear where the consumer is passively exposed to product information. In traditional advertising, the consumers have no control over the order in which they are exposed to the information. Linear communication may indeed benefit the advertiser in controlling or focusing the receiver on the intended message or most persuasive aspect of the product or service.
The study indicated that in some circumstances interactivity does not enhance advertising effectiveness. Interactivity may increase attention, but that attention is now focused on the
consumers own choices and feelings interrupting the process of persuasion, the core aspect of advertising. In the interactive system, consumers spent less time viewing the advertisements, and they were less likely to purchase target products. The research concluded that the time tested linear format of advertising layout and carefully written copy led participants to spend more time looking at the products and ingesting the message.
To further study the differences in ad retention, Sunder, Narayan, Obregon, and Uppal (1998) conducted an experiment to measure recall and recognition of advertising. “Results from the analyses suggest that individuals exposed to news stories and ads in print medium tend to remember (specifically recognize) significantly more of the ad content than comparable individuals exposed to identical stories and ads in the online medium.”
The experiment did not conclude that print and online media command different levels of attention from the readers relating to the primary focus of the communication (news). “Even when story memory and prior frequency of newspaper and online media are statistically controlled, memory for the print version of the ad is significantly higher than memory for the online version of the same ad.” Sunder, Narayan, Obregon, and Uppal hypothesize the shortcoming of memory for online communications may relate to the physical way audiences view the two mediums.
It may be speculated that the paper on which the newspaper is printed allow for the readers’ eyes to consume the news page in its entirety, including all peripheral aspects like advertising, while the computer screen, with its thick boxed boundaries, limit readers; attention to the center of the screen.
Lack of Synchronization in Cross Channel Communications Internet research firm Jupiter Communications (1999) reported that few marketers synchronize their online and offline efforts. The study found that two-thirds of marketers use a separate agency for online creative. Poor communication and a lack of shared strategy certainly play a factor in poor IMC performance. Sheehan and Doherty (2001) indicate considerable room for synchronization; only 35 out of 186 advertisements and corresponding websites appeared to be integrated strategically.
Arronson and Zeff (1999) suggest that many advertising agencies are operating under tremendous time constraints when designing campaigns for websites. Their conclusion is that critical aspects of integrated marketing and integrated advertising are ignored.
The Influence of Product Characteristics in Choosing Medium Research conducted by Yoon and Kim (2001) attempt to link product characteristics along the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Peity and Caccioppo, 1986) to advertising media placement decisions. Their results suggested that Internet advertising is better suited for highly involved products such as automobiles and luxury watches. Jupiter Communications (1999) suggested that technology companies and high involvement brands tend to do a better job integrating their advertising and show better advertising results on the Web than low involvement brands such as traditional package goods products, grooming, and fashion.
Consumer staples (low involvement) such as shampoo and fast food were found not to benefit from in-depth and interactive marketing on the web. The research team pointed to print advertising as a continued source of effective advertising. Statistical results from Yoon and Kim showed magazine ads second only to television as the most influential advertising format for consumers when reaching a purchase decision. Only the automobile category ranked the Internet higher in consideration than magazine advertising.
The Effects of Technology Marshal McLuhan theorized that technologies in general and media technologies in particular transmit their own psychosocial messages, which are more powerful and allencompassing than the effects of “content” on the mass audience. McLuhan further states, “The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.” These statements certainly hold true for the Internet and the world changing effects it has brought to communication, commerce, education, society, politics, and the household. Indeed, as McLuhan states our perception of the world has changed with the growth of this communication technology.
Sundar, (et. all) point out advertising principles have long recognized the psychological effects of media technologies. Standard advertising practice, especially IMC strategy is to explicitly compare different media while making campaign decisions to reach an optimum mix. “In addition to measuring various forms of media for their reach of audience, the
advertising industry keenly pursues audience reactions to different media by trying to assess the “standing of the media vehicle” in the minds of the audience”
The receiver’s receptiveness to the advertising media vehicle is equally important. The receiver may view an advertisement as distracting and intrusive, or perhaps easily avoidable and informative. Compare many consumers’ attitudes of Internet pop up ads to that of cosmetic ads in a woman’s fashion magazine. The cosmetic ad is often expected and complementary to the original media, while pop-up ads are perceived as intrusive and conflicting with the media users intended purpose.
For Gallager, Parsons, and Foster, an unforeseen consequence of not controlling all the variables led to a breakup of the sample into two distinct age groups. In their study young college participants (mean age 22, s.d. 2.96) who frequent the Internet often were more critical of online stories and advertisements than the older participants (mean age 34, s.d. 12.22). This may account for a “wow factor” of a new technology, citing McLuhan’s famous statement that the medium trumps the message. The online media vehicle favorably skews the impression of unfamiliar receivers more than the underlying message.
As consumers become more familiar with online communication the “wow factor” will eventually fade. The consumers’ growing expectations in terms of service and presentation will drive up the cost in terms of financial and human resource investment associated with maintaining and improving company websites.
Diverted Attention Span Theory and research suggest considerable psychological differences in the processing of stimuli from different media. Prior to the advent and popularization of the Internet, much communication effect research has focused on differences between traditional mass media such as radio, television, and print. Surveys of television viewers’ minutes after they watched the news have shown that they remember very little as compared with those who read the newspaper. Some researchers contend that people generally do not give television news their full attention because they are simultaneously engaged in a variety of competing activities like eating, conversing, or cooking. The same theory plays into today’s world of computing. More powerful computers combined with savvy users who multitask - opening multiple windows, listening to music, checking email, and instant messaging certainly make for competing activities while reading a web story much less viewing and remembering the advertising associated with that website.
Calder, Bezjian-Avery and Iacobucci hypothesize that highly visual advertisements may be more demanding therefore take more concentration to process. Highly visual ads may actually yield better performance delivered via traditional advertising platforms.
Sunder, Narayan, Obregon, and Uppal have hinted at the psychological effect and expectations of certain media as a possible reason behind the noticeable ad recall difference.
Another explanation for the study’s finding could be related to receivers’ expectations as well as estimations of the appropriateness of advertising in the online medium The image of the internet as
a free information network perhaps engenders a psychological predisposition to consider all of its content as free-floating sharing of information rather than as carefully packaged products of advertising and marketing.
Online clutter becomes an issue, as competition for web users becomes more intense. As websites continue to proliferate, consumers become more dependent on search engines to locate sites of interest, making it crucial for advertised products to have prominent placement on these powerful search tools. Likewise choosing the right media buy becomes more difficult as target marketing becomes more complex and fragmented, compared to mass media buys in magazines.
Web Based Advertising Strategy The interactive nature of the online communications medium produces a radically different strategy for advertisers. Menon and Soman (2002) discuss the challenges of generating interest and educating consumers in the non-linear domain of Internet advertising. “Unlike a television commercial or print advertisement, most Internet advertising is in a form (e.g., banners, buttons) that requires sufficient interest and motivation on the part of the consumers to interact with the advertisement and access appropriate information rather than be passive recipients of the message”. Studies on web based behavior show that advertisers must encourage curiosity-based elaboration about the information displayed in the ad. The desire to learn more about an advertisement arises when a consumer becomes alerted to the existence of an information gap between what is presented in the ad and their knowledge base (Menon and Soman).
Unlike linear information presented in traditional ad formats, online strategy motivates the consumer to interact with the medium to reach detailed product information that often dwarfs the amount of information that a print ad carries. The interactive nature of online communication does not mean that all online advertising must follow this strategy, but knowledge of interactive behavior has lead to two common web based strategies (along with variations):
o Curiosity Arousal - A curiosity generating strategy that creates or highlights a knowledge gap in product information that the receiver will “solve” upon clicking the advertisement.
o Goal resolution – Strategy that presents the receiver with a problem or issue, which they determine they would like to “solve” upon clicking the advertisement.
Flaws of the Past Studies The passage of ten years has lead to some interesting advancements for online advertising but key questions still remain 1. Is one method of advertising more effective – print or online?
2. Does Internet advertising work better for certain products? Hindsight regarding the evolution of Internet advertising has exposed some flaws to the methodology of many past experiments.
1. Online advertising differs significantly from printed advertising - in size, mode, and copy as well as content and even the very subject. News or magazine articles in traditional print format have completely different ads as those fashioned for the same story on the Internet. Studies that create one exact ad to compare for each medium are not appropriate for today’s distinct communication models. The following examples demonstrate the difference in corresponding ads for identical content of Newsweek magazine in traditional print and online formats.
2. Other studies split the two independent variables into unequal categories - print advertisements and company websites. A company website is not a paid and scheduled media buy like print ads. It is a company asset that is extremely detailed and continually updated. A likely comparison to a company or brand web page is a pamphlet, catalogue, or brochure created by the company, not a media buy in a publication, newspaper, or television commercial.
3. To compare the two mediums in an equal setting, an apple-to-apple comparison, paid online advertisements on third party web sites must be compared to paid advertisements in printed sources.
Hypothesis Continuing from research in past studies, I propose four hypotheses will become clear from this content analysis 1. Agreeing with the finding of Yoon and Kim, advertising in the online model will focus more on high involvement products, while traditional print advertisements will have a larger variety of low involvement consumer products. 2. Based on the research by Calder, Bezjian-Avery & Iacobucci, indicating that highly detailed and graphic ads perform better on traditional paper, a hypothesis that online ads will concentrate more on brand awareness while print ads will focus more on product specific aspects.
3. This study will measure the amount of synchronization among the traditional ads to see if improvements have been made since Sheehan and Doherty’s (2001) findings. 4. The volume and variety of traditional ads will outnumber their online counterpart.
III. Methodology This study is based on empirical research in a scientific communications technique called a content analysis. Using content analysis, this study will thoroughly examine the advertising model and strategies of top consumer magazines and their corresponding websites. • Two top selling magazines were chosen in six broad categories. Careful consideration was used to ensure that many major U.S. publishers that currently have extensive websites were included in this study – American Media, Hachette Fillapachi, Hearst, Mansueto, Meredith, Rodale, Time Warner, Washington Post, and Wenner. A diverse mix of publishers provides a complete picture of the evolving online environment, since some companies are further advanced in terms of strategy and resources devoted to the online model. It should be noted that in this evolving stage of Internet communications and commerce, some large publishers do not have websites more extensive than one page; these publishers could not be included in this study.
The six categories and chosen magazines are: 1. Celebrity Gossip – Star and Us Weekly 2. Female General Interest – Family Circle and Women’s Day 3. Newsweekly – Time and Newsweek 4. Men’s Lifestyle – Best Life and Esquire 5. Fashion – Elle and Cosmopolitan 6. Business – Inc. and Forbes 2005 Gross Revenue for Chosen Magazines (Source AdAge 2006)
Revenue Rank 15 28 18 35 10 13 87 NA 3 7 19 120 Category Celebrity Gossip Celebrity Gossip Fashion Fashion Female General Interest Female General Interest Men's Lifestyle Men's Lifestyle Newsweekly Newsweekly Business Business Magazine Us Weekly Star Magazine Vogue Elle Woman's Day Family Circle Esquire BestLife * Time Newsweek Forbes Inc. Publisher Wenner AMI Conde Nast Hachette Hachette Meredith Hearst Rodale Time Warner The Washington Post Forbes Media Mansueto Gross Revenue (000) 417,354 311,496 392,793 249,795 502,668 434,569 121,351 NA 944,594 622,044 381,588 90,958
Notes Gross revenue, in thousands. *Best Life started publication mid 2005
Six major stories were viewed for each online site. Thirty pages past the first table of contents of the print magazine were analyzed.
Content Analysis Explained A content analysis is a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the content that is being communicated (Berelson, 1952, cited in Kassarian
1997). Content analysis is the study of the message itself, not the communicator or the audience (Kassarian, 1977).
A proper content analysis study strives to categorize communications material into meaningful units using careful applied rules (Kassarian, 1983). As Bernard Berelson (1954) on of the earliest researchers in content analysis concludes, “…it is important to start [a content analysis] in the right way. Simply going on a fishing expedition through some common communication material is almost certain to be unrewarding.” To avoid an unrewarding expedition, careful consideration was used to define set measurable categories prior to coding and measurement. Comparing two different communication mediums such as traditional print and the interactive web requires unique sets of coding variables. While it is preferable to find common measurable variables in the two mediums, which this study has achieved, it is also important to measure variables unique to each category. The following section will thoroughly explain the categories chosen for measurement.
Quantitative Categories Quantitative categories consist of a variable that is easily defined and measured such as numbers and yes/no values. No interpretation is required.
Traditional Print Quantitative Categories • Number of Ads - The number of advertisements placed in the thirty pages of each magazine. • Number of Advertisers - Coding counted an advertiser once, no matter how many traditional ad pages placed in the magazine. • Size of Ads- The size of the printed advertisement. This is categorized as 1/3 page, full page, 2 page half spread (top or bottom), 2 page, and 3 page in cases concerning drug companies which by federal drug regulations are required to include lengthy disclosures that are often put on the following back page of the initial advertisement. In some cases, notably the fashion category, an advertiser will place numerous 2 page ads in consecutive pages. These have been categorized as separate 2 page ads, since the consumer can only view and interpret two pages at a time. • Online link (Y/N) – If the traditional ad displays a URL (website address) for the advertised brand, product, or service.
Online Magazine Website Quantitative Categories • Number of Ads – The number of ads imprinted on each of the article pages viewed. An imprint is an industry term for the generation of an advertisement. • Number of Advertisers - Coding counted an advertiser once, no matter how many imprinted advertisements displayed on the magazine website.
Size of the Ads – This category is recorded using industry standards defined by the amount of pixels. The industry standards are listed below:
Standard Ad Sizes Medium Rectangle Leaderboard Wide Skyscraper Skyscraper Micro Bar Half Banner Button #2 Rectangle Full Banner Button #1 Vertical Banner Square Button Large Rectangle Vertical Rectangle Square Non-Standard Dimension Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance Dimensions (Pixels) (300x250) (728x90) (160x600) (120x600) (88x31) (234x60) (120x60) (180x150) (468x60) (120x90) (336x280) (125x125) 120x240) (240x400) (250x250)
Ad Location – The location in relation to the primary article on the web page. Visual Style – Animated, static, expandable, or text – The term animated means the copy or image moves fluidly like video, initially upon imprint or throughout the entire viewing period. Static ads resemble printed ads that do not change or move. Expandable ads open larger or play video when the mouse pointer moves over the advertisement. Text is simply text copy with no graphic.
Qualitative Categories Qualitative categories, as the name implies, consist of perceived qualities associated to a variable. Unlike numbers, a judgment must be made as to the value placed on a variable. To handle the complexities of qualitative variables, the study has set strict categories each variable must fit into. Both the traditional print and online medium were measured for the same qualitative categories. • Product Category – The nature of the advertiser’s business. To best organize these results, broad categories such as “financial services” and “cosmetics” were established to house a wide array of business models. • Product Classification – This section determines if the product purchase decision is high involvement, meaning a lot of thought is put into purchasing the product (high risk) or low involvement not a lot of thought is put into the purchase (low risk). • Advertising Focus – What the ad message is describing or selling – the Brand, Product, Service, or Internet Site. • Advertising Strategy – This category deals with the intended message or persuasion of the advertisement.
Discussion of Methodology Decisions Online Coding Decisions The decision of how many web stories was purely objective; many websites contain hundreds of individual pages. Six stories each were chosen to complete the survey in a timely fashion. Advertising on websites change on a per click basis and others change on a daily or weekly basis. To best mirror a consumers visit to a website, which could occur over time, three of the online articles were coded one day and three more were coded on a following day.
Pop-up ads, intro pages, and splash ads were not recorded. While these may be high revenue for websites, due to blocking software running on most computers, consumers do not always see these ads. The decision not to record these advertisements balance out the decision to omit high value back cover traditional advertisements.
In some cases ads at the bottom of the page or below the article might start off as an animation during the initial load of the web page, but during the course of coding the page starting from the top the animation cycle will end, leaving a static message. The time spent to code a page is similar to the time it takes to read an article from top to bottom. Therefore, the decision was made to code these ads as static, since the consumer that reads the article will not see the animation.
Print Coding Decisions The decision was made to exclude some of the most valuable ad pages in traditional print, those being the first few pages, the back page of the magazine, and the back cover. Nothing in an online model compares to the value of these prime spots of magazine real estate, save for a splash animation on the title page of a website. Choosing thirty pages from the beginning ensures a high mark of ad exposure. The theory is that most readers are still finding their way through the magazine before focusing in on stories of interest and possibly ignoring others or giving up on the magazine completely.
IV. RESULTS The developing nature of online magazines and online advertising as a whole lead to few defined standard-advertising practices. There were some nebulous practices that had to be discarded to make a balanced measurement of the advertising content collected. Coding did take a careful account of everything on the page that can be considered an advertisement; this section will explain the qualification process that is associated with setting standards for content analysis.
An occurrence immediately observed in the online portion of content coding and analysis. A substantial amount of advertisements were deemed secondary level advertisements. Four categories termed secondary level advertisements include: o Click links or text links - Advertisements with no graphics, merely text that when clicked on will open the corresponding web page.
o Unrelated Logo links – A small logo for a business with no relation to the story. These advertisements were excluded because they appear tacked on the page in a
o nondescript location and have little chance of catching the viewers attention. Clicking on the logo will open a page associated with the company.
o Drop Down Lists – While considered a powerful advertising method, this ad type was excluded based on the fact that it does not communicate a single product message to the consumer. This ad form is more of a search engine that opens a complete listing for the consumer when activated.
o Magazine related advertisements – This category is termed secondary based on the fact that it is not paid advertisements for a business other than the magazine.
The Newsweek web page was recreated to indicate which ads are deemed secondary and are dropped from the premium filter. This example will show the amount of second class ads circled in red (6 total) often outnumber premium paid for advertisements circled in green (1) that can be found on a typical magazine web page.
This anomaly was unforeseen during development of the study, but careful deliberation is accorded to handling the incongruence as effectively as possible. To level the playing field, when comparisons are discussed between the two mediums the second tier advertising is excluded. General results listing the measured category amounts among mediums will be displayed with three color coded categories, yellow for all online ads, green for the premium ads, and blue for traditional ads. An example of the general results listing is below.
Online All Ads Magazine Forbes Inc Category Example 100 120
Online Premium Ads Category Example 50 21
Traditional Print Category Example 20 15
Measured Categories In developing the Content Analysis, many categories were developed to be measured and discussed on an individual basis. The standard format for analyzing the results will be a medium analysis of the two categories as a whole – traditional model vs. online model. The following section will analyze and point out significant findings among the individual magazines and six categories examined. Tables will be included in each section for reference of the findings discussed.
QUANTATIVE CATEORY ANALYSIS Number of Advertisements – Medium Analysis Ad page count is an important measure of traditional magazine health. Since advertising accounts for such a large portion of magazine revenue, the ad page count for a magazine is often viewed as more critical than circulation figures. As online magazines increase in popularity a similar ad count certainly must be devised. While there are counting methods for online ad imprints and methods to track the click rate of online ads, no standard industry accepted format is defined. This section will show that interpretation on the number of online ads is still unclear.
For the traditional print medium, a total of 360 pages were analyzed yielding 174 advertisements, factoring ad sizes a total of 208.1 pages were devoted to advertisements equaling an ad ratio 57.8%.
For the online medium, a total of 72 pages were analyzed. Counting every type of ad, 761 advertisements were coded for an impressive 10.6 ads per web page. Using stated criteria to screen for premium ads greatly diminished the amount of advertisements to 3.3 ads per web page.
Pages Viewed Ad Ratio Ad Pages Per Page
Medium Online Online Premium Print
72 72 360
761 237 174
N/A N/A 208.1
10.569 3.292 0.483
To further illustrate the need to define premium ads compared to all advertising on the online model, the following table displays the amount of online advertising devoted to the magazine itself. These are non-revenue generating ads, they do not promote an independent company, merely the magazine or website itself. Of the 761 coded ads, 103 or 13.5% are devoted to subscription offers for the magazine. Ads that increase awareness of the website including sections or services found on the magazine website account for 65 additional ads. The combined amount of non-revenue generating ads devoted to the magazine total more than one-fifth of the advertising space or 22.1%.
Ads for Mag Subscriptions Ads for Subs + Web site
Total Ads 761 761
Category 103 168
Ratio 13.5% 22.1%
Number of Unique Advertisers – Medium Analysis Advertised companies, meaning the brand, product, site, or service occasionally place more than one ad in a media vehicle. This is true for radio, television, out-door advertising, and in the two mediums of this analysis. While counting the total number of ads in each magazine and website regardless of advertiser, each unique company is counted once matter how many traditional ad pages or web imprints displayed.
While the ad ratio for the online model is significantly higher than the print model, the number of unique advertisers and advertiser ratio falls considerably.
Medium Online Online Premium Print
Ads 761 237 174
Advertisers 277 107 147
Ad Ratio 10.569 3.292 0.483
Advertiser Ratio 3.847 1.486 0.408
Online magazines often display the same advertiser and exact advertisement throughout each of its online pages. A textbook example of this parable was the online site for men’s lifestyle magazine BestLife. The website had three premium ads per page but each ad is for only one advertiser, automobile Mini Cooper, thus 18 total ads are for only one unique advertiser.
Number of Ads – Category Specific In the online medium, the business category significantly had the most ads with over 394 total and 96 premium ads, almost a 4 to 1 ratio over the other categories. The per page ratio show the category is overflowing with advertisements with an average of 33 total ads and 8 premium ads per page. Business professionals who visit these sites typically use the site as more than an entertainment vehicle. The consumer that visits this category use the site as a resource for professional needs, thus advertising is not just a secondary part of the site but a tool for the consumer to find relevant information and products to help them succeed. The online model for business magazines is clearly a successful advertising outlet.
For all categories, the traditional print model has an impressive number of ads averaging close to 50%, or 15 ads per thirty pages. The newsweekly category has the least number
of advertisements, 23 advertisements on sixty pages for a 38% ratio. The men’s lifestyle category has the highest number of advertisements – 35, for a 58% ad ratio.
Number of Advertisers – Category Specific Comparing the two mediums, the number of unique advertisers is a category where all online magazine categories are inferior to the traditional model. Only the Web sites of newsmagazines Time and Newsweek and the men’s lifestyle magazine Esquire can boast that well over 60% of the advertisements are from unique advertisers. The traditional print model averages close to 90% unique advertisers per advertisement. The one traditional category that falls below the average is fashion, where high-end clothing and accessory companies place large multi-page spreads throughout the magazine as a standard practice. Despite the large number of ads found in the online model, only the highly successful online business category has a larger number of unique advertisers compared to their print counterparts.
Number of Ads and Number of Unique Advertisers – Category Specific
Online Premium Ads Advertiser Advertiser Ads Ad Ratio Advertisers Ratio Ads Ad Ratio Advertisers Ratio 187 207 394 31.17 34.50 32.83 58 56 114 31.0% 27.1% 29.0% 63 33 96 10.50 5.50 8.00 21 16 37 33.3% 48.5% 40.9% Online All Ads Traditional Print Ads Ad Ratio Advertisers 15 16 31 0.50 0.53 0.52 15 14 29 Advertiser Ratio 100.0% 87.5% 93.8%
Magazine Forbes Inc. Business Total
Star US Celebrity Gossip Total
63 30 93
10.50 5.00 7.75
23 10 33
36.5% 33.3% 34.9%
21 18 39
3.50 3.00 3.25
10 9 19
47.6% 50.0% 48.8%
13 12 25
43.3% 40.0% 41.7%
12 12 24
92.3% 100.0% 96.2%
Elle Vogue Fashion Total
24 18 42
4.00 3.00 3.50
7 10 17
29.2% 55.6% 42.4%
10 16 26
1.67 2.67 2.17
4 9 13
40.0% 56.3% 48.1%
18 15 33
60.0% 50.0% 55.0%
9 9 18
50.0% 60.0% 55.0%
BestLife Esquire Men’s Lifestyle Total
39 36 75
6.50 6.00 6.25
20 10 30
51.3% 27.8% 39.5%
15 11 26
2.50 1.83 2.17
1 9 10
6.7% 81.8% 44.2%
16 19 35
53.3% 63.3% 58.3%
14 16 30
87.5% 84.2% 85.9%
Newsweek Time Newsweekly Total
54 34 88
9.00 5.67 7.33
21 25 46
38.9% 73.5% 56.2%
14 11 25
2.33 1.83 2.08
11 7 18
78.6% 63.6% 71.1%
12 11 23
40.0% 36.7% 38.3%
11 10 21
91.7% 90.9% 91.3%
Family Circle Woman's Day Women's G.I. Total
47 22 69
7.83 3.67 5.75
29 8 37
61.7% 36.4% 49.0%
12 13 25
2.00 2.17 2.08
4 6 10
33.3% 46.2% 39.7%
11 16 27
36.7% 53.3% 45.0%
10 15 25
90.9% 93.8% 92.3%
Size of Advertisements – Traditional Model For the traditional model as a whole, the majority of advertisements are a full page. Two page ads are the second most popular size and 1/3 page ads make up the remainder of the significant amount.
Ad Size Full Page 2 Page 1/3 Page Bottom 2 Pages 3 Pages 1/2 Page 2/3 Page 2 1/3 Page Full Page + 1/3 Grand Total Count 109 40 16 3 2 1 1 1 1 174 Ratio 62.6% 23.0% 9.2% 1.7% 1.1% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 100.0%
The only traditional print category to deviate from the ad size averages is the fashion category. A predominately larger percentage of fashion magazine advertisements are two pages, greater than the 23% traditional model average, 69.7% of the two magazines advertisements were two page ads.
Magazine Elle Elle Elle Elle Total Vogue Vogue Vogue Total Fashion Category Fashion Category Fashion Category Fashion Total Ad Size 1/3 page 2 Page Full Page 2 Page Full Page 1/3 page 2 Page Full Page Count Ratio 2 11.1% 10 55.6% 6 33.3% 18 13 2 15 2 23 8 33 86.7% 13.3% 6.1% 69.7% 24.2%
The complete table of each magazine’s traditional advertisement size is located in the appendix – Table 1.
Size of Advertisements – Online Model The first table includes all advertisements coded for the online model. Note that Click Links account for a staggering 38.9% of the ads found in magazine web sites. The content analysis did not factor the revenue generated for advertisements, data on ad revenue is a closely guarded figure, so there is no way to determine how much revenue these secondary click link advertisements generate. Despite the question regarding the quality of these ads and their profit, click links are by far the most common form of advertising for the online model at this time.
All Online Advertisements Ad Size Count Click Links 296 Logo Link 72 Leaderboard 71 NS Rectangle 54 Wide Skyscraper 51 NS Half Skyscraper 32 Medium Rectangle 30 Button 2 Logo Link 21 Large Rectangle 21 NS Square 18 Vertical Banner 18 Drop Down List 13 Vertical Banner 10 Banner 9 Small Box 8 Button #1 6 Half Banner 6 NS Banner 6 Square Button 6 Small Leaderboard 6 Logo 5 Skyscraper 2 Grand Count 761 Ratio 38.9% 9.5% 9.3% 7.1% 6.7% 4.2% 3.9% 2.8% 2.8% 2.4% 2.4% 1.7% 1.3% 1.2% 1.1% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 0.7% 0.3% 100.0%
The second table below shows ad size using the Premium Advertisements filtering method - extracting click links, unrelated logo links, drop down menus, and magazine related advertisements. The results show a wide array of sizes used in the online model with leaderboard ads and wide skyscraper ads the most prevalent sizes.
Premium Online Advertisements Ad Size Count Ratio Leaderboard 55 23.2% Wide Skyscraper 39 16.5% Medium Rectangle 27 11.4% Button 2 Logo Link 21 8.9% NS Rectangle 16 6.8% Large Rectangle 14 5.9% Logo Link 12 5.1% Vertical Banner 10 4.2% Small Box 8 3.4% Vertical Banner 8 3.4% Button #1 6 2.5% Small Leader board 6 2.5% Square Button 6 2.5% Banner 4 1.7% NS Square 3 1.3% Skyscraper 2 0.8% Grand Count 237 100.0%
No significant data concerning ad size was found among the individual magazines or categories. The distribution was as varied and diverse as the overall medium. The complete table with each online magazine’s premium advertisement size is located in the appendix – Table 2.
Advertisement Location – Online Model Advertisement locations for online magazines are well dispersed throughout the page. One trend that appears from the data is the popularity of ads placed on the right of the screen.
All Online Ads Ad Location Count Bottom of Web Page 186 Middle Right 90 Bottom Article Right 74 Below Article 63 Top Right 61 Lower Right 50 Well Under Article 45 Above Masthead 42 On Masthead 28 Middle Far Left 22 Bottom Far Left 20 Below Article Right 18 Directly Above Article 12 Right of Masthead 11 Bottom of Article Middle 8 Bottom Article Left 7 Below Article Left 6 Middle Far Right 6 Top Far Left 6 Middle of Article 5 Right of Story Title 1 Grand Count 761 Ratio 24.4% 11.8% 9.7% 8.3% 8.0% 6.6% 5.9% 5.5% 3.7% 2.9% 2.6% 2.4% 1.6% 1.4% 1.1% 0.9% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 0.7% 0.1% 100.0%
Regardless of the vertical placement of advertisements a higher proportion are embedded on the right as compared to the middle or the left. Two factors may attribute to this finding, the first dealing with previous study of how the eye moves and focuses while reading. The second factor may be attributed to the design of web page navigation, to control the content or scroll through an Internet page the viewer must control and focus the pointer to the far right of the screen. This design feature of Internet browsers always
takes the viewers attention to the right, making the right side the most desirable location on the web page, thus the ideal place to put attention-getting advertisement.
Horizontal Placement Right Middle Left Undefined Grand Total Count 311 130 61 259 761 Ratio 40.9% 17.1% 8.0% 34.0% 100.0%
A visual display of ad locations and percentage, based on a fictitious web page is located in the Appendix – Figure 1.
Visual Style – Online Model This category contains four possible characteristics for each ad. Visual style was first examined for all ads, then examined a second time using the Premium Ad filter process. Important points were discovered when the filter was implemented: • For all online ads, a large number of advertisements are visually text ads. This is due to the large amount of click link ads recorded; click link ads contain no graphics. Text ads accounted for 43.5% of all visual ad style. • To keep the cost of magazine related subscription ads low, the advertisements designed for that purpose are often static. • When the filter is implemented almost all the text ads are eliminated and over half the static ads are excluded.
What remains when the Premium Ad filter is implemented are considered rich media ads, agency created ads that are animated and others that expand into larger ads and video when engaged (with the mouse) by the viewer.
All Online Ads Premium Ads
Total Ads 761 237
Animated 74 67
Ratio 9.7% 28.3%
Static 342 149
Ratio 44.9% 62.9%
Text 331 7
Ratio 43.5% 3.0%
Expands 14 14
Ratio 1.8% 5.9%
IMPORTANT NOTE: A large portion of animated ads run a limited cycle of animation upon generation before turning static. During the course of coding the web page (which takes approximately the same time to read an article from top to bottom), these animated ads have run their cycle and become static. When the coder reached these ads they were recorded as static ads, since the Internet viewer will see a static message, despite the animation that occurred upon the initial loading of the web page. This occurrence happened to many of the animated ads at the bottom of the web page.
The complete table of visual style for each online magazine is located in the appendix – Table 3 all advertisements, and Table 4 – premium advertisements.
Integrated Advertising - Online Links in Traditional Print Ads Previous research by Sheehan and Doherty (2001) indicated that there was a lack of integration employed among traditional print advertisers. While the Internet was a popular advertising and public relations vehicle in 2001 few advertisers would link the printed message to online efforts. To test a hypothesis that integration is more prevalent
in 2008, traditional advertisements were coded to measure if they contained a URL (Internet address) or discussed the website in the advertising copy.
Magazine Forbes Inc. Business Star US Celebrity Gossip Elle Vogue Fashion BestLife Esquire Men’s Lifestyle Newsweek Time News Weekly Family Circle Woman's Day Women's G. I. Total Count Ads 15 16 31 13 12 25 18 15 33 16 19 35 12 11 23 11 16 27 174 Online Link 14 14 28 7 10 17 5 10 15 8 11 19 11 11 22 9 14 23 124 Ratio 93.3% 87.5% 90.4% 53.8% 83.3% 68.6% 27.8% 66.7% 47.2% 50.0% 57.9% 53.9% 91.7% 100.0% 95.8% 81.8% 87.5% 84.7% 71.3%
While in 2001 Sheehan and Doherty found only 19% of advertisements correlated copy to a website, statistics in 2008 show that 71.3% of print advertisements include a URL or mention of information on a web page. The statistics are even more impressive for certain categories: • Business Category - Over 90% of magazine advertisements include mention of a website. • Newsweekly Category – Over 95% of magazine advertisements include mention of a website.
A reason for this high percentage may be that the demographics of the reader for these publications are perceived as high technology users.
Categories that fall below the average include women’s fashion and men’s lifestyle magazines. Elle magazine was a significant laggard with only 27.8% of coded print advertisements mentioning or displaying a web address. Part of the reason behind the low percentage of online links in these magazines may be based on the nature of the advertised product (high involvement or low involvement), a category that will be examined further in this paper.
QUALITATIVE CATEOGRY ANALYSIS Product Category A hypothesis to be tested in this content analysis states that a larger variety of product categories will be found in the traditional printed medium. Current theory concerning the young online advertising industry states that certain product categories sell better on this medium than others, while the traditional printed magazine can be used effectively for all products and businesses. To test this hypothesis, the nature of the advertiser’s business was coded for each ad.
Product Category – Medium Analysis
Online All Ads Product Category Ads Automobile 25 Business Opportunity 4 Business Service 26 Clothing 4 Cosmetics 2 Drug 4 Entertainment 16 Financial Service 94 Footwear 2 Hair Care 1 Health Service 1 Law Service 6 Magazine 107 Online - Gaming 2 Online – Retail 8 Online - Service 44 Online - Site 211 Organization 26 Retail Product 11 Retail Store 1 Shopping Portal 6 Supplement 28 Technology - Hardware 38 Technology - Service 32 Technology - Software 25 Toiletries 4 Travel - Airline 8 Travel – Hotel 12 Grand Count 748 Standard Deviation Number of Categories 28 Online Premium Ads Ratio Product Category Ads 3.3% Automobile 25 0.5% Business Service 5 3.5% Clothing 4 0.5% Cosmetics 2 0.3% Drug 4 0.5% Entertainment 12 2.1% Financial Service 47 12.6% Food -Retail 3 0.3% Footwear 2 0.1% Hair Care 1 0.1% Magazine 4 0.8% Online - Gaming 2 14.3% Online - Retail 3 0.3% Online - Service 26 1.1% Online - Site 19 5.9% Organization 9 28.2% Retail Product 8 3.5% Retail Store 1 1.5% Shopping Portal 6 0.1% Supplement 8 0.8% Technology - Hardware 17 3.7% Technology - Service 5 5.1% Technology - Software 13 4.3% Toiletries 4 3.3% Travel - Airline 2 0.5% Travel - Hotel 5 1.1% Grand Count 237 1.6% Standard Deviation 100.0% Number of Categories 26 0.05946 Ratio 10.5% 2.1% 1.7% 0.8% 1.7% 5.1% 19.8% 1.3% 0.8% 0.4% 1.7% 0.8% 1.3% 11.0% 8.0% 3.8% 3.4% 0.4% 2.5% 3.4% 7.2% 2.1% 5.5% 1.7% 0.8% 2.1% 100.0% 0.04411 Traditional Print Product Category Ads Automobile 9 Business Services 3 Calling Card 1 Cigarettes 1 Clothing 37 Cosmetics 8 Diet Service 3 Drug 10 Drug OTC 3 Entertainment 9 Financial Service 9 Food Retail 14 Footwear 6 Hair Care 6 Health Service 1 Home Goods 1 Industrial Company 1 Jewelry 7 Law Service 1 Online Service 1 Organization 6 Private Jet 1 Restaurant 1 Retail Product 2 Retail Store 1 Spirits 1 Sports Equipment 2 Technology - Hardware 15 Technology - Service 4 Technology - Software 2 Toiletries 5 Travel - Airline 1 Travel - Hotel 2 Grand Count 174 Standard Deviation Number of Categories 33 Ratio 5.2% 1.7% 0.6% 0.6% 21.3% 4.6% 1.7% 5.7% 1.7% 5.2% 5.2% 8.0% 3.4% 3.4% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 4.0% 0.6% 0.6% 3.4% 0.6% 0.6% 1.1% 0.6% 0.6% 1.1% 8.6% 2.3% 1.1% 2.9% 0.6% 1.1% 100.0% 0.02393
Thirteen online ads that are drop down menus containing over thirty categories were excluded from this particular analysis, had they remained they would be excluded from the online premium ads. Online All Ads • Advertisements that promote a website were the most prevalent at 211 for 28.2%. These are mostly categorized as secondary click links and 192 are filtered out using the Premium Ad filter process. • Advertisements featuring magazine subscriptions amounted to 107 advertisements, accounting for 14.3% of all online ads. The premium filter excluded all but four of these ads, which are for a different magazine owned by the publishing company. • Financial service is the third most popular category, 94 ads make up 12.6% of the 748 advertisements recorded.
Online Premium Ads Using the Premium filtering method changes the landscape of product category dramatically. • Advertisements for the financial service category are the most prevalent. This category includes mortgages, banking, brokerages, and credit cards, among others. Advertisements for this category must be effective; an overwhelming 19.8% of all premium ads are devoted to this category alone.
Online service sites are the second most popular. This is a logical strategy since introduction to these sites once a consumer is online is only a mouse click away. Online service sites generate their business by providing a service to the consumer primarily through online interaction; these sites include job search, dating services, and video rentals. Job search provider Monster.com was the most prevalent. It should be noted that depending on the magazine site Monster.com’s online ads were crafted for two different markets – for the job seeker (celebrity category) and the job provider (business category).
Automobile ads became the third most popular category among premium paid for advertisements, accounting for 10.5% of the total recorded.
Traditional Print Ads • Clothing products were the most common product category, with 37 advertisements for 21.3% of the total. The fashion category had a large amount (25 ads), however many ads were placed in others magazine categories including men’s lifestyle, women’s general interest, and even the business category. This indicates that the printed page is still the preferred method of advertising for this product type. • Technological hardware devices ranked second among product type with 8.6% of the total. Initially, this may seem surprising; with the attitude that print advertising is a dull and dying format, but for portraying a complex message to the consumer, the linear format of presenting the information with a print
advertisement still works. Ironically, traditional advertisements for technological hardware devices outrank their online counterpoints even though most hardware products are designed to operate on the Internet. • Food retail products were the third most popular category at 8%. Products in this category are low involvement decisions that include soft drinks, candy bars, cereals, and snacks.
Product Categories - Comparison of the Two Mediums With considerably less advertisements, the traditional printed medium contains advertisements for more product categories than its online counterpart. Even comparing 174 advertisements coded in the print medium to the universe of 748 premium and secondary ads, 33 categories were advertised in the traditional format, five more than the online format. Product categories found in print media that are missing from the online magazine sites include calling cards, cigarettes, diet services, over the counter drugs, retail food products, jewelry, restaurants, sports equipment, spirits (alcohol), industrial companies, even private corporate jets. All of these industries (with the exception of the private jet) have major advertising budgets but have not made the move to fully embrace the online advertising model, at least in the twelve major magazines that were analyzed.
Secondly, major advertising categories such as clothing, prescription drugs, cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries, are advertised very lightly in the online model. A
number of factors may prevent these product categories from choosing the online model as frequently as they choose the traditional format, regardless, a substantial amount of advertising dollars do not carry over to the Internet at this time.
This proves the hypothesis that traditional print magazines deliver, and are a leading choice for a diverse advertising community, a community of products that do not all work well on the online advertising model.
The wide array of products advertised in traditional print format also lead to an equal weighting among products. While certain product categories do well with online ads such as financial products and online service sites, they tend to tip the scale when it comes to representation. Standard deviation shows that traditional print advertising has a healthier mix of all product categories, instead of the stacked deck found on the online advertising medium.
Product Classification –High Involvement and Low Involvement Involvement refers to how much time, thought, and energy consumers devote to the purchase process. Each consumer has his or her own opinion of which products are deemed high involvement decisions and which are low involvement, but on average a widely accepted model has been created and used among the marketing community (Peity and Caccioppo 1986).
High involvement products are usually, but not exclusively, high priced products or complicated items that relay more risk or regret to the consumer if they feel they made a poor decision. Examples of high involvement products include automobiles, computers, prescription drugs, and financial services.
Low involvement products tend to be lower priced items that are bought often and out of habit. They are often established products categories that have many competitors to choose from. The consumer buys these items often and consumes them quicker than high involvement products. The risk and regret factor is much lower if the consumer feels they made a poor decision. Examples of low involvement products include packaged retail foods, toiletries, entertainment, and clothing.
Analyses of the two mediums indicate that a greater percentage of high involvement items are advertised online. It takes an amount of interest and commitment by the consumer to divert his attention from the initial purpose of visiting a website and interact with an ad. Due to the constraints of limited space for Internet ads almost all advertisements open up a new web page that the consumer will be directed to. This is a completely different format than printed ads, thus the consumer must feel it is worth his time to allow this redirection of attention, making many low involvement items such as the one below a rarity.
Low involvement products naturally turn their advertising budget toward traditional magazines, especially ones that cater to the demographics they believe best fit their target audience, the consumers that are most likely well aware of the product and simply need a reminder of it or an informative ad highlighting product improvements or new features.
Online All Ads Online Premium Ads Traditional Print
Ads 761 237 174
High Inv. 390 147 66
Ratio 51.2% 62.0% 37.9%
Low Inv. 371 90 108
Ratio 48.8% 38.0% 62.1%
Magazines in their traditional format and their online counterpart have highly segmented readers. The demographics of the subscribers of National Enquirer are on average vastly different to the demographics of the readers of The Robb Report. Depending on the reader demographics, the advertised products found in the magazine will vary along with the decision process involvement. Sharp contrasts were noted when product classification results were divided by magazine category.
Category Business Business Business Total
Magazine Forbes Inc.
Ads 187 207 394 63 30 93 24 18 42 39 36 75 54 34 88 47 22 69
Online All Ads High Inv. Ratio 148 79.1% 135 65.2% 283 71.8% 39 4 43 3 7 10 16 4 20 11 11 22 19 12 31 61.9% 13.3% 46.2% 12.5% 38.9% 23.8% 41.0% 11.1% 26.7% 20.4% 32.4% 25.0% 40.4% 54.5% 44.9%
Online Premium Ads Ads High Inv. Ratio 63 60 95.2% 33 28 84.8% 96 88 91.7% 21 18 39 10 16 26 15 11 26 14 11 25 12 13 25 9 4 13 3 7 10 15 4 19 4 6 10 9 7 16 42.9% 22.2% 33.3% 30.0% 43.8% 38.5% 100.0% 36.4% 73.1% 28.6% 54.5% 40.0% 75.0% 53.8% 64.0%
Ads 15 16 31 13 12 25 18 15 33 16 19 35 12 11 23 11 16 27
Traditional Print High Inv. Ratio 10 66.7% 12 75.0% 22 71.0% 0 4 4 1 0 1 7 6 13 10 7 17 0 9 9 0.0% 33.3% 16.0% 5.6% 0.0% 3.0% 43.8% 31.6% 37.1% 83.3% 63.6% 73.9% 0.0% 56.3% 33.3%
Celebrity Gossip Star Celebrity Gossip US Celebrity Gossip Total Fashion Fashion Fashion Total Men's Lifestyle Men's Lifestyle Men's Lifestyle Total Newsweekly Newsweekly Newsweekly Total Women's G. I. Women's G. I. Women's G. I. Total Elle Vogue BestLife Esquire Newsweek Time Family Circle Woman's Day
The business category had the highest percentage of high involvement items advertised both online and in print mediums. This is primarily because decisions on business products are often critical to the success of a business and the individual; these decisions often take much deliberation when learning about and deciding to purchase an item.
Advertisements in the celebrity gossip as well as the fashion categories featured a large percentage of low involvement items for both online and print mediums. The amount of clothing and cosmetic advertisements found in these fashion publications is almost exclusive to any other product category. While the price of high couture clothing and the deliberation women may use during purchase can be considerable, the category is clothing and in the analysis it was deemed low involvement.
A dichotomy was noted between the scores for the newsweekly category. The traditional medium contained a high percentage of advertisements for high involvement items (73.9%) while the percentage of high involvement product advertisements for the online model was considerably lower (40%).
Advertising Focus Each advertisement can be thought of as a brief message or story the advertiser attempts to relate to the consumer. This category classifies the subject of that story. The category assigns one of five defined values of advertisement focus – Brand, Event, Product, Service, or Site.
Online All Ads Ad Focus Ads Brand 211 Event 0 Product 204 Service 62 Site 271 Grand Count 748 Ratio 28.2% 0.0% 27.3% 8.3% 36.2% Online Premium Ads Ad Focus Ads Ratio Brand 93 39.2% Event 0 0.0% Product 60 25.3% Service 25 10.5% Site 59 24.9% Grand Count 237 Traditional Print Ad Focus Ads Brand 98 Event 2 Product 71 Service 3 Site 0 Grand Count 174 Ratio 56.3% 1.1% 40.8% 1.7% 0.0%
Previous research by Bezjian-Avery, Calder, and Iacobucci, (1998) stated that highly detailed ads perform better in the traditional print method. Highly detailed ads typically focus on a product and its attributes. Based on this statement, a hypothesis was made that a higher percentage of product specific ads will be placed in the traditional printed medium. As the data shows the hypothesis was true. Advertisements that focused on a particular product were found in 40.8% of all traditional media ads, this percentage is significantly higher than product focused online ads, which account for 25.3% of
premium advertisements. The remainder of traditional ads almost exclusively featured a company brand.
Online ads had a more even split among categories, such as focusing on other Internet sites. As previously stated, the Internet is the best place to advertise other web sites, advertisers are more likely to be reaching their target market (online users) and a visit to the advertised site is just a mouse click away. Service companies tend to have a large presence on the World Wide Web as well, making the Internet a preferred medium to direct traffic toward their company.
Advertising Communication Strategy In most instances only one communication strategy is used in the advertisement, however in some instances more than one strategy was recorded for a particularly complex or well-designed ad. The following list briefly describes the eleven categories: 1. Awareness / Reinforcement – General announcement of an existing brand, product, or service, either with copy or merely visual. 2. Cause Related Marketing – Strategy showcasing a company’s charitable work in the community or commitment to a cause. 3. Curiosity Arousal – Web based strategy attempting to engage the consumer’s curiosity and prompting them to interact with the ad. Three basic curiosity arousal formats are:
Click to Sweepstakes –prompts the consumer to play a sweepstakes or contest.
o Click to Learn/Watch – prompts the consumer to learn more about advertised item upon click of the ad. o Click to Interact – prompts the consumer to interact with entertainment or a short game 4. Deal Specific – Pertains to an exact opportunity presented in the advertisement. 5. Goal Resolution – Web based strategy that present a solution to a need or problem that the consumer has. 6. Informative – Detailed description of the functions or features of the product, brand, or service. 7. Introduction – Message presenting a new product, brand, or service or a new feature of an existing one. 8. Logo – An awareness strategy that simply displays the advertiser’s logo. 9. Special “Editorial” Section – Advertising that falsely portrays itself as part of the medium. 10. Superlative – Message that communicates an exceptional aspect or key selling point of the brand, product or service. 11. Testimonial - A story or supportive statement from a user of the product lauding the benefits of the item.
Curiosity Arousal ads account for 45.9% of all online ads and 34% of premium online ads. A majority of click links ads are designed as cryptic curiosity ads hoping to cast a wide net over potential consumers. The second strategy crafted for the Internet did not have as much popularity as expected, goal resolution accounted for only 7% of all online ads and 9.2% of premium advertisements.
Deal specific ads were a popular strategy for the online medium. The interactive nature and immediate gratification associated with purchasing products on the Internet allow these ads to work very well. Examples of deal specific ads found in online magazines are shown below.
Whether these deals truly exist once the advertisement is clicked and the company web page opens is another matter entirely.
The most prevalent strategy in the traditional model dealt with awareness or reinforcement of an existing product, a way of keeping the brand or product in the mind of the consumer, which is a never-ending competition. Informative Ads are the second most popular strategy and one that is practically non-existent among the 762 online ads recorded. Advertisers looking to spread an informative message about a product, service, brand, even an internet site are better off choosing the printed format with its linear information conveyance. It has been proven with technological hardware, which is often complex to describe and impossible to do so in a 2x2 inch Internet box.
Online All Ads Strategy Awareness / Reinforcement Cause Related Marketing Curiosity - Click to Sweepstakes Curiosity - Click to Learn/ Watch Curiosity - Click to Interact Deal Specific Goal Resolution Informative Introduction Logo Special “Editorial” Section Superlative Testimonial Grand Count Ads 103 0 8 323 18 147 53 8 2 75 6 7 6 762 Ratio 0.0% 1.1% 2.4% 7.0% 1.0% 0.3% 9.9% 0.8% 0.9% 0.8% Strategy
Online Premium Ads Ads 50 0 2 53 18 49 22 3 2 12 6 2 6 238 Ratio 0.0% 0.8% Strategy 14.2% Awareness / Reinforcement Cause Related Marketing Curiosity - Click to Sweepstakes Curiosity - Click to Interact Goal Resolution Informative Introduction Logo Special “Editorial” Section Superlative Testimonial Grand Count
Traditional Print Ads 91 2 0 0 0 6 0 49 7 0 0 12 5 180 Ratio 55.0% 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.3% 0.0% 27.2% 3.9% 0.0% 0.0% 6.7% 2.8% 23.1% Awareness / Reinforcement Cause Related Marketing Curiosity - Click to Sweepstakes
42.4% Curiosity - Click to Learn / Watch 19.3% Deal Specific
22.3% Curiosity - Click to Learn/ Watch 10.9% Curiosity - Click to Interact 20.6% Deal Specific 9.2% 1.3% 0.8% 5.0% 2.5% 0.8% 2.5% Goal Resolution Informative Introduction Logo Special “Editorial” Section Superlative Testimonial Grand Count
Final Note on Analysis: A complete listing of each advertisement with its recorded category values is located in the Appendix, Table 5 – Traditional Model Advertisements and Table 6 – Online Model Premium Advertisements
V. DISCUSSION By drawing up concise categories the content analysis found meaningful results to test and prove each of the four stated hypotheses 1. Product Involvement - The online model featured more high involvement items than the traditional print model. Conversely, low involvement items are more prevalent in traditional print. Brands and products classified as low involvement find more advertising options in traditional print periodicals. Time will tell if imaginative marketers can craft successful online advertisements for low involvement products. 2. Advertisement Focus - The majority, 39.2% of premium online ads focus on the company brand while product specific advertisements are found more frequently in the traditional print medium (40.8% traditional, 25.3% online). 3. Integrated Marketing Synchronization – Measuring traditional advertisements for URLs or mention of a website in the advertising copy revealed that 71.3% of print advertisements now refer the consumer to more information online. This confirms our hypothesis of improved synchronization; this percentage is considerably higher than Sheehan and Doherty’s finding of 19% in 2001. 4. Volume and Variety of Advertisements – The online format for magazines yield more advertisements due to the unlimited size of a web page as well as the small size of standardized advertising buttons and banners. The variety of online ads currently pale in comparison to the traditional counterpart. Online ads are often repeated in successive stories and in some instances the same advertisements appear on every page. The following graph shows the dramatic reduction of unique advertisers for the
online model, 237 premium ads are for only 107 advertisers, fewer advertisers than the traditional print format.
Comparison of Ads and Advertisers 800 700 600 Amount Coded 500 Online All Ads 400 300 200 100 0 Ads Unique Advertisers 277 237 174 107 147 Online Premium Print 761
The analysis concludes that Internet advertising works; but not for all products and not for all advertising strategies. Vividly pointed out in the product category analysis, major products types were not found in the online model. Large budget, frequent advertisers such as tobacco, jewelry, cosmetics, consumer staples, and beverages – both soft drink and spirits to name a few, are conspicuously absent from the online advertising environment. The marketers of these products will find that as more magazines fold they will lose valuable proven outlets to showcase their products.
Major advertising communication strategies such as informative advertising and product specific advertising do not translate effectively to the online model. Marketers looking to employ these tactics should look elsewhere when choosing their media buy. Similarly low involvement products have a difficult time catching the fleeting attention of the distracted online consumer.
Traditional Print – Extremely Valuable to the Internet Gupta 1995, cited in Kanso and Nelson, report that 66% of respondents learn about website through magazines. Print media is a particularly useful medium because the interested consumer can directly refer to the advertisement when he or she types the URL of the advertised product. Referring to the actual ad diminishes the possibility of errors due to hastily writing or memorizing the URL from a television, radio, or outdoor advertisement (Kanso and Nelson). In a recent analysis of BIGresearch's Simultaneous Media Survey, consumers said that they were most motivated to begin an online search after viewing:
• • • •
Advertisements in magazines (47.2%) Newspapers (42.3%) Ads on TV (42.8%) From reading articles (43.7%)
Mike Gatti, Executive Director of RAMA, said "...While search engine marketing continues to be a popular strategy, retailers should not lose sight of traditional advertising channels to promote products and services." (Center for Media Research 2007) Single Strategy – Many Channels A strategic strategy combined with tactics across multiple channels is the hallmark of Integrated Marketing Communications. In general terms, IMC suggests that there is a single concept of thought from which all communications will originate. This concept of thought will then lead to determining how, in which medium, and why, each message is created.
Appropriate Ads for Appropriate Markets Recent studies of online advertising show an increasing number of web users are ignoring online ads because they find the animations intrusive and bear little relationship to the content they are reading (iFocus 2006). Even the largest mass-market products do not appeal to everyone. Only a well though out integrated strategy that includes choosing the right audience for the advertised product will yield the desired results, both online and in traditional mediums.
The magazine industry has always been a favored vehicle to reach a niche audience based on a publication’s well-defined subscriber demographics. Additionally, with the high segmentation of magazines based on a myriad of variables – age, gender, race, hobbies, and profession to name a few, an advertiser has an excellent chance of broadcasting
his/her message to the exact audience deemed critical for a product’s success. The extended shelf life of magazines, particularly monthly titles, increase the odds that a single advertisement will be viewed repeatedly, and by multiple consumers, continuing to make traditional print advertising a safe and important piece of the integrated advertising mix.
VI. CONCLUSION Final Remarks Regarding the Future of Print Media With a history of over two thousand years, the print medium is undoubtedly the oldest mass communication vehicle. Since the first periodical Gentlemen’s Magazine was published in Scotland in 1731 magazines have faced and survived radical new technologies and threats to its survival. Despite the various “superior forms” of delivering communication content – radio, motion pictures, television, and now the Internet, periodicals have managed to stick around. Admittedly, the golden age of magazines, when the venerable TV Guide sold 10 million single newsstand copies a week is over. But just as better methods of transportation have come over the centuries, human beings have yet to chop off their feet. Likewise, a ten-year frenzy over the unlimited potential of cyberspace may trim the fat from a bloated print industry, but it will not eradicate the venerable magazine industry or the value it brings to marketers.
Limitations Qualitative classification of the ads was dependant on the primary researcher. Knowledge of advertising principles non-withstanding, it is still a matter of interpretation for one person. Even if more resources were available to employ additional coders, classification objectives must be set up by the lead researcher or agreed upon by a committee for the coders to follow. Either way, the classification of the content is still a matter of interpretation and opinion.
This content analysis was a snapshot of the traditional print industry and online model for a brief time period. A longer sampling process (weeks or months) would draw a more robust variety of advertising, particularly in the online medium where ad-imprinting schedules appear to be varied among each publisher.
Additional Research Opportunities The Content Analysis model designed to track advertising content is best used on a continual basis to measure the changing direction and maturing process of the developing online advertising model. Any analysis done in a vacuum will only paint a picture of what is occurring at that moment in time. Only by continuous measurement can an analytical process detect, measure, and comment on trends.
The content analysis model for multi-platform comparison enables a vast array of additional avenues of research. • The study can be replicated to examine niche publications categories such as participant sports, lifestyles, and hobbies. The nature of the advertising is more targeted in niche publications and the coded results would yield interesting results. • The focus of the content analysis can be narrowed to a particular subset of publications and broadened within that particular subset, such as all financial publications, all newsweeklies, or all men’s lifestyle magazines. • The analysis can be lengthened to a longer time period such as a six month or a year time span. A cautionary notice – while it is easy to collect past issues of the printed magazine the online stories often change or disappear. Even if websites archive past articles the imprint method of advertising will often display current advertising partners – therefore an expanded analysis for online advertising must be conducted over a period of time. • Other media platforms can be used in this study, provided common variables or categories are identified. Local, national, and infrequent (non-daily) newspapers can be compared to their growing online model using the same variables listed in this analysis. • Mobile media designed to appear on PDA’s and cell phones can be used as a medium; as those particular communication models grow in popularity.
About the Author Ron Newman is a candidate in the Master of Science Communication program at Florida International University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida State University. Mr. Newman is currently Business Analyst at Distribution Services International in Delray Beach, Florida, a subsidiary of American Media Incorporated. In his position, Mr. Newman analyzes the newsstand circulation of popular periodicals including Newsweek, InTouch, Life & Style, Men’s Health, Prevention, Elle Magazine, Women’s Day, Family Circle, Fast Company, Inc. and New York Magazine.
All magazine data used for this report was obtained from public information and previously released material from independent sources. REFERENCES Anonymous, Center for Media Research March 21 2007 Anonymous, “Are print media owners meeting the challenge of online?” Media Hong Kong: June 16, 2006: pp. 13, 1 pg. Aronson, Brad; and Zeff, Robin. Advertising on the Internet (2nd Edition) New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 1999. Berelson, B. Content Analysis in Communications Research Glenco, Ill: The Free Press, 1952. Bezjian-Avery, Alexa; Calder, Bobby; Iacobucci, Dawn. “New media interactive advertising vs. traditional advertising” Journal of Advertising Research Vol. 38, No. 4 (1998): pp. 23, 9 pgs. Gallagher, Katherine; Foster, K.Dale; Parsons,Jeffrey. “The medium is Not the Message:Advertising effectiveness and content evaluation on the Web” Journal of Advertising Research Vol. 41, No. 4 (2001): pp. 57-70.
Gallagher, Kathering; Foster, K.Dale; Parsons,Jeffrey. “A tale of two studies: Replicating advertising effectiveness and content evaluation on the Web” Journal of Advertising Research Vol. 41, No. 4 (2001): pp. 71, 14 pgs. Ives, Nat. “Hachette Axes Another U.S. Title: Premiere” AdAge.com March 05, 2007. Kanso, Ali, and Nelson, Richard Alan. “Internet and Magazine Advertising: Integrated Partnerships or Not?” Journal of Advertising Research Vol. 44, No. 4 (2004): pp. 71, 14 pgs. Kassarjian, Harold H. “Content Analysis in Consumer Research” Journal of Consumer Research Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jun. 1977): pp. 8-18. Kassarjian, Harold H, and Healey, John S. “Advertising Substantiation and Advertiser Response: A Content Analysis of Magazine Advertisements” Journal of Marketing Vol. 47, (Winter 1983): pp. 107-117. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man New York: McGraw Hill, 1964. Menon, Satya, and Soman, Dilip. “Managing the power of curiosity for effective web advertising strategies” Journal of Advertising Vol. 31, No. 3 (Fall 2002) Peity, Richard E, and Caccioppo, John T. Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1986. Sheehan, Kim.B, and Doherty, Caitlin. “Re-weaving the Web: Integrating Print and online Communications” Journal of Interactive Marketing Vol. 15, No. 2 (Spring 2001) pp.47-59. Scott, Andy. “Fiber space vs. cyberspace” American Printer Vol. 123, No. 6 (June 2006): pp. 14, 1 pg. Sundar, Shyam; Narayan, Sunetra; Obregon, Rafeal; Uppal, Charu. “Does Web advertising work? Memory for print vs. online media” Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly Vol. 75 Iss. 4 . (Winter 1998) pp. 822, 14 pgs. Yoon, Sung-Joon, and Kim, Joo-Ho. “Is the Internet More Effective Than Traditional Media?” Journal of Advertising Research Vol. 41, No. 6 (Nov. 2001): pp. 53-60.
VII. APPENDIX Table 1 – Traditional Model Ad Sizes by Magazine
Magazine Forbes Forbes Forbes Forbes Total Inc. Inc. Inc. Inc. Total Star Star Star Star Star Total US US US Total Elle Elle Elle Elle Total Vogue Vogue Vogue Total BestLife BestLife BestLife BestLife Total Esquire Esquire Esquire Esquire Esquire Total Newsweek Newsweek Newsweek Newsweek Newsweek Total Time Time Time Time Time Total Family Cirlce Family Cirlce Total Woman's Day Woman's Day Woman's Day Woman's Day Woman's Day Woman's Day Total Ad Size 2 Page Bottom 2 Pages Full Page 1/3 Page Bottom 2 pages Full Page 1/2 Page 1/3 Page 2 Page Full Page 1/3 Page Full Page 1/3 page 2 Page Full Page 2 Page Full Page 1/3 Page 2 Page Full Page 1/3 Page 2 Page 2/3 Page Full Page 1/3 Page 2 Page 3 Pages Full Page 1/3 Page 2 Page 2.3 Page Full Page Full Page 1/3 Page 2 Page 3 pages Full Page Full Page + 1/3 Count 4 1 10 15 2 2 12 16 1 2 1 9 13 1 11 12 2 10 6 18 13 2 15 3 1 12 16 3 5 1 10 19 1 2 1 8 12 1 1 1 8 11 11 11 1 3 1 10 1 16 Ratio 26.7% 6.7% 66.7% 12.5% 12.5% 75.0% 7.7% 15.4% 7.7% 69.2% 8.3% 91.7% 11.1% 55.6% 33.3% 86.7% 13.3% 18.8% 6.3% 75.0% 15.8% 26.3% 5.3% 52.6% 8.3% 16.7% 8.3% 66.7% 9.1% 9.1% 9.1% 72.7% 100.0% 6.3% 18.8% 6.3% 62.5% 6.3%
Table 2 – Online Model Ad Sizes by Magazine
Magazine Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Forbes Online Inc Online Inc Online Inc Online Inc Online Inc Online Inc Online Inc Online Elle Online Elle Online Elle Online Elle Online Vogue Online Vogue Online Vogue Online Vogue Online Star Online Star Online Star Online Star Online Star Online Star Online Star Online US online US online US online US online Product Category Button 2 Logo Link Logo Link Small Box Vertical Banner Square Button NS Rectangle Large Rectangle Leaderboard Banner Wide Skyscraper Grand Count NS Rectangle Wide Skyscraper Leaderboard Large Rectangle NS Square Vertical Banner Grand Count Button #1 Leaderboard Wide Skyscraper Grand Count Large Rectangle Leaderboard NS Rectangle Grand Count Small Leaderboard Leaderboard Wide Skyscraper Skyscraper Banner Vertical Banner Grand Count Leaderboard Medium Rectangle Wide Skyscraper Grand Count Ad Size Ratio 21 12 8 7 6 3 2 2 1 1 63 9 8 6 4 3 3 33 6 2 2 10 6 6 4 16 6 5 5 2 1 2 21 6 6 6 18 33.3% 19.0% 12.7% 11.1% 9.5% 4.8% 3.2% 3.2% 1.6% 1.6% 100.0% 27.3% 24.2% 18.2% 12.1% 9.1% 9.1% 100.0% 60.0% 20.0% 20.0% 100.0% 37.5% 37.5% 25.0% 100.0% 28.6% 23.8% 23.8% 9.5% 4.8% 9.5% 100.0% 33.3% 33.3% 33.3% 100.0%
BestLife Online BestLife Online BestLife Online BestLife Online Esquire Online Esquire Online Esquire Online Newsweek Online Newsweek Online Newsweek Online Newsweek Online Time Online Time Online Time Online FC Online FC Online FC Online FC Online WD Online WD Online WD Online WD Online WD Online
Leaderboard Medium Rectangle Wide Skyscraper Grand Count Vertical Banner Leaderboard Grand Count Wide Skyscraper Medium Rectangle Leaderboard Grand Count Medium Rectangle Leaderboard Grand Count Leaderboard Wide Skyscraper Large Rectangle Grand Count Medium Rectangle Wide Skyscraper Leaderboard Banner Grand Count
6 6 3 15 6 5 11 6 5 3 14 6 5 11 6 4 2 12 4 4 3 2 13
40.0% 40.0% 20.0% 100.0% 54.5% 45.5% 100.0% 42.9% 35.7% 21.4% 100.0% 54.5% 45.5% 100.0% 50.0% 33.3% 16.7% 100.0% 30.8% 30.8% 23.1% 15.4% 100.0%
Table 3 – Visual Style Online Model (All Advertisers)
Magazine Forbes Online Inc Online Star Online US online Elle Online Vogue Online BestLife Online Esquire Online Newsweek Online Time Online FC Online WD Online Grand Count Total Ads 187 207 63 30 24 18 39 36 54 34 47 22 761 Animated 3 19 4 9 3 8 6 5 3 8 6 0 74 Static 134 15 22 21 21 9 15 31 36 7 11 20 342 Text 50 171 37 0 0 0 18 0 15 16 24 0 331 Expands 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 6 2 14
Table 4 – Visual Style Online Model (Premium Advertisers)
Magazine Forbes Online Inc Online Star Online US online Elle Online Vogue Online BestLife Online Esquire Online Newsweek Online Time Online FC Online WD Online Grand Count Total Ads 63 33 21 18 10 16 15 11 14 11 12 13 237 Animated 3 16 4 5 3 8 6 5 3 8 6 0 67 Static 60 9 16 13 7 7 9 6 11 0 0 11 149 Text 0 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 Expands 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 6 2 14