Media Update from Alice Buttling

In a week where we thought things might be getting clearer with the promise of a ‘road map’ to exit lockdown, it seems the opposite has happened and there is more confusion than ever (and frustration I am sure). Not a huge amount has changed on the media landscape, but there is certainly talk of pricing returning to ‘normal’ from June with the ‘lockdown’ deals coming to an end, but this will obviously be dependent on demand, results and circulations from a direct response perspective. Below is a quick snapshot by sector.

Newspapers – the circulations have settled, with winners and losers, but even the ones that decreased have not seen significant drops.  Sunday papers are seeing increases in double figures in the case of Sunday Times and Sun on Sunday.  Circulations were up 6% on average in the week running up to VE day – it was welcome to see news on something other than COVID19.  For the rest of the month at least there will still be some great deals, which will make the CPT lower than pre-lockdown – we have seen many clients getting some of their best ever results and ‘out of season’ spikes thanks to a combination of pricing, engagement and product suitability; in fact for some the biggest issue has been not being able to get enough stock.  For those who have been most impacted by the lockdown in terms of accessing their customers, it could be a good time to take advantage of the prices as we emerge at the end of the month.

TV – still going strong with linear viewing up 21% and VOD viewing up 45%.  The largest increases from 16 – 34 and ABC1 audiences.  72% of viewing is now on the ‘big screen’ taking 10% share from mobiles and the largest increases are from group viewing over individuals.  There is still a large appetite for news with a 45% increase, but also family viewing such as films seeing a 34% rise.  With pricing set to remain low on Channel 4 and ITV (Sky are currently putting their prices back in for June) there has still never been a better time to be on TV.  As recent study by Thinkbox showed their direct sellers web traffic increased by over 300% when they started on TV during lockdown enabling them to sell direct whilst the retailers were closed.

Inserts – third party inserts have struggled to despatch the volumes they forecast as these would have been planned way before any of this happened so there is a bit of catch up in this area, however subs for mags are getting great results and there are many deals to be done as the availability is high due to many advertisers who typically run large insert campaigns pulling out – mainly travel.

Magazines – still a very strong sector with subs high – the real winners being home interest and hobby titles magazines and news/current affairs.  The prices are set to revert for the August issues, out in July, but this will be gradual and there will still be some good deals in these issues I think.  I would expect September to be back on track for them.

Postcard mailing– Now is certainly the time to make contact with your database, whether this is a customer base to cross/upsell to or an enquiry base to start easing into making appointments from existing leads, this will undoubtedly be the most cost effective exercise and it could not be any more flexible or low risk with a printed postcard at 60p, regardless of volume you can dip your toe in and test the water then ramp it up quickly if the results look good.

Mail newspapers carried out some research with their readers and found that 1 in 3 of those surveyed have bought from e commerce sites they have not used before, 50% of those who have not ordered online groceries before have done so for the first time and intent to continue.  They have seen a 56% increase in use of their voucher code site in April and people are saying that they will choose to come out of lockdown very slowly – with mail order purchasing being favoured over high street retail.  Now is the time to make a good impression and reap the benefits of changed consumer behaviour – more virtual meetings, online shopping and less face to face contact.  Top of the list for when lockdown ends though is getting a haircut and having a beauty treatment so that we can emerge back into society without the Zoom filters.

Alice Buttling, MD, 15th May 2020

A great time to run an Insert campaign

In these unsettling and uncertain times we all need to look at doing things a little differently. You may not have considered an insert plan before or maybe you have tried them in the past and didn’t get the results you hoped for but inserts are uniquely placed to offer creative solutions to drive business. 

Many direct sellers rely on press advertising to reach their customers but with many people having to stay in their homes (especially those in the older age brackets) access to their favoured read might be restricted.  Despite the challenges it is still possible to keep the lines of communication open, inserts into third party mailings and subscription magazine copies will continue to reach consumers as normal. So how do you make the most of this opportunity?

  • Firstly and most importantly we would select methods only that ARE DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO THE HOME  – so no wastage and less uncertainty.
  • As people stay at home,  delivered magazines and products will become more important for entertainment and pleasure, creative inserts with a good offering will be received more positively than ever before.
  • Retention value means that people will save a relevant insert until a more suitable time (especially important for two stage advertisers who will need to have leads ready to go when the situation improves).
  • You may now need to change your message or sell differently, whatever you want to say the flexibility of format and creative execution will allow you to communicate your message effectively.

Here at AJ, as experts in short term buying we are used to adapting to rapidly changing marketplaces, it’s what we do every day.  Our established insert department is ready to put together a plan to help keep you going in the coming months. We appreciate that changing agency at this time would be a huge step into the unknown which is why we’re offering to work on a project basis with no ongoing commitment.  

Please call or email to find out how we can help your business stay healthy.