- By Topic
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has nearly doubled its Consolidated Media Reports (CMR) magazine initiative with the release of the 37 American City Business Journal (ACBJ) titles earlier this week.
The ACBJ additions bring the total number of participating brands to 68 (nine consumer; 59 business-to-business), since Popular Science became the first a year ago. The CMR audit program—customizable and consolidated tracking of website activity, enewsletters, events and social media—began as a newspaper offering in 2009 and was officially extended to the magazine space in March.
Rob Fisher, senior vice president and group publisher at ACBJ, who also serves as a board member of ABC, says that the CMR program dovetailed with the direction his company was already moving in. Internal audience analysis had shown minimal overlap between print, web and event consumers.
“That told us we needed to communicate to advertisers that just buying an ad in a newspaper or just sponsoring an event or just buying advertising on a daily update really wasn’t reaching our entire audience,” he says. “There was a big piece you were missing.
“Our national advertisers are more savvy in looking at the data, but in our local markets, we see the same pattern,” Fisher continues. “‘I want to be in print,’ or ‘I want to be in your email,’ or ‘I want to be in an event.’ We’re leading them to say, ‘Well, you need to be in all three.’ This data now gives us the opportunity to show the cumulative effect of reaching those multiple audiences.”
Fisher had not yet gotten a response from advertisers, but was confident that they will appreciate, and soon demand, audits beyond print. For the time being however, the CMR audits remain a question of worth to publishers.
“Publishers are always feeling pressure on the cost side,” he says. “I think that when they see, in their competitive set, that other people are doing it, they’re going to follow suit though. It’s always driven by the advertisers, and when they see it, they’re going to push for it. Their issue has always been, when it gets to digital numbers, that it’s always the Wild West. So I think when ABC comes in and signs off on a composite set of this data, buyers are going to say that’s what they want to see.”
SEE ALSO: Evolution of the Audit
Right now, only a small percentage of ABC members have chosen to go ahead with CMR audits though. Only nine of 625 consumer titles receive CMRs, while, including the ACBJ reports, 59 of 210 business-to-business members are participating.
Those numbers are in line with what ABC president and managing director Mike Lavery expected from the new program however, calling the adoption rate “pretty much on par with where we thought it would be.”
“I think [the audit] has even more value than it used to,” he adds. “As the media becomes ever more fractionalized and disparate, there is a need for the audits. While other metrics may get a higher profile, [the audited figures] are fundamental to everything.”
Connect with Magazine, eMedia & Publishing Industry Peers