After a test period that began earlier this year, Meredith Corp. is unveiling the first major advertising client for its “Engagement Dividend” program -- a pioneering new service created by the women-targeted publisher that guarantees that print advertising in its magazines will result in a certain amount of sales lift.
Consumer packaged goods giant Kimberly-Clark, which owns brands including Kleenex, Huggies and Cottonelle, will be the “premiere advertising partner” for Engagement Dividend when it debuts early next year.
The Engagement Dividend program uses Nielsen data as well as Meredith’s own proprietary database of 85 million consumers to connect magazine ad exposure with actual purchases. It compares the purchase behaviors of two groups of panelists drawn from Nielsen’s Homescan, a national consumer panel of 100,000 individuals who agree to allow Nielsen to track all their product purchases.
They are identical in most respects, including demographic and income attributes, with a single difference: One group of panelists subscribes to Meredith titles, while the control group does not.
Product purchases by the two groups are then compared, allowing Meredith to connect advertising to sales lift. This, in turn, provides the basis of sales guarantees, in which Meredith promises a certain amount of sales lift for a certain amount of ad investment in Meredith titles.
The publisher also promises to make good any shortfalls on these guarantees with additional advertising.
Describing Engagement Dividend as a “breakthrough product for the magazine industry,” KC Global Media Director Mark Kaline stated: “We believe its focus on driving return on investment (ROI) for advertising dollars is vital to marketers seeking to build brand sales and leadership."
The deal was brokered by KC’s media agency, GroupM/Mindshare, which will participate in tracking and analyzing data on ad exposure and sales lift.
While Nielsen Homescan data is only applicable to certain categories that happen to be endemic to Meredith titles -- including CPG, food, household goods, and OTC drugs -- Meredith is working on identifying data sources that would allow similar analyses and guarantees in other categories, like automotive and prescription drugs.
Meredith is not the only publisher looking to boost ad sales with more precise measurement of ad impact.
In October, Time Inc. unveiled PinPoint, which compares Time Inc. subscriber data with shopper data from Nielsen Catalina to determine which magazine readers bought which products after being exposed to print advertising. Although it does not involve an ROI guarantee like Meredith’s Engagement Dividend, the comparisons should allow advertisers to examine individual purchases, timing and frequency of repeat sales, size of purchase, etc. All information is paired with useful demographic data to further understand their magazine ad audience.
In order to give advertisers and media buyers a holistic view of a magazine brand's audience, Time Inc. is also making similar data match-ups available for advertising (and audience) delivered by its online properties.