MPA Hopes To Engage Media Buyers, Releases Report On Engagement

On the eve of Madison Avenue's biggest media conference, the magazine medium is seeking to engage media buyers and advertisers on the subject of engagement. The Magazine Publishers of America today will release "Engagement: Understanding Consumers' Relationships With Media," a report compiling some of the best recent research conducted on the topic of media engagement.

The report, which draws extensively from 35 third party research studies, including those from top syndicated researchers, as well as media companies, industry gurus like consultant Erwin Ephron, and academic researchers at Ball State University, is intended to position magazine publishers as having a leadership role on the issue.

The report is also the second in a series of ongoing compilations, and follows a guide on media accountability published by the MPA in October that addressed the subject of engagement, but did not go into as much detail as the new report.

The MPA's effort coincides with a broader industry push to both define the meaning of media engagement and to come up with a practical way of measuring it and applying it to media planning and advertising.



During a panel discussion last week at the Newspaper Association of America's marketing conference in Orlando, Joe Plummer, the chief research officer of the Advertising Research Foundation, updated newspaper publishers on Madison Avenue's so-called MI4 initiative, an effort to define engagement and develop the appropriate metrics for measuring it.

Plummer described the metric as the "21st Century GRP," a reference to TV's gross rating points, which are a base measure of audience exposure. Plummer said the MI4 committee already has a working definition of engagement: "Engagement is turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding media context."

He said an official definition would be announced March 21 during the ARF's annual conference in New York.

Meanwhile, the MPA's report is designed to provide advertisers and media buyers with an accessible reference to the current thinking on the subject. The report is designed to be "media neutral," said Ellen Oppenheim, chief marketing officer of the MPA, and covers the role of engagement in all media, not just magazines.

"It is so complicated. We just wanted to produce something that would make it easier for people to grasp the subject," she said. The MPA report stops short of making specific recommendations on how to define and measure engagement, but it does imply that it is not as simple as developing an index to measure the impact of all media on consumers.

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