Meredith Magazines Promises ‘Audience Action’ to Print Advertisers During COVID-19

As advertisers push “pause” on marketing campaigns amid the COVID-19 crisis, traditional media is expected to lose more ad dollars than digital media, according to a recent IAB survey. To be proactive and reassure hesitant customers, Meredith Magazines announced last week that it would prove the effectiveness of brand campaigns in its magazines under the new Meredith Audience Action Guarantee.

The Meredith Audience Action Guarantee (MAAG) promises that a specific number of readers will take an action (i.e., visit a website or recommend a product) after seeing a brand campaign in Meredith magazines — including PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, REAL SIMPLE, and InStyle. To get the guarantee, advertisers need to buy at least five ad pages across two magazine brands’ May-December issues.

MAAG was inspired by the company’s existing Meredith Sales Guarantee program, which uses Nielsen Catalina Solutions to demonstrate how cross-platform campaigns with Meredith brands boost product sales.

“We’ve never had to give anyone their money back, so it’s worked, but it takes a lot of advertising and a lot of time to execute that,” says Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines. To demonstrate results more quickly under the MAAG, Meredith pivoted to the measurement of “audience action” using MRI-Simmons Starch AdMeasure.

Publishing Executive asked Olson to share motivations behind the new guarantee and to shed light on the biggest concerns among advertising customers during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the lightly edited interview:

We’re not seeing any reluctance because of the medium. Like I said, the only decision point is what is it going to look like 30 or 45 days from now. I think that’s the biggest question. But they know print works, the advertisers that have stuck with it. Even though it’s been challenged as an industry, if you look at our portfolio we’ve actually done pretty well the past few years comparatively.

Leah Wynalek is editor-in-chief of BRAND United. She is passionate about creating content that engages audiences across channels – and delivering insights that help others do the same.