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Know-How Exchange

Topic: Research/Metrics

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Print Advertising Response Rates/benchmarks

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
Trying to find industry average response rates for Print Ads that offer a free trial for a consumer product.

  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    I doubt you'll find anything other than anecdotal information.

    The variables are immense and only by defining and managing them will you be able to improve your response rates.

    For example, variables may include:

    1. The industry

    2. The precise details of the offer - quantity offered, terms, conditions
    3. The product - is it a small consideration, low/high involvement, discretionary or necessity, etc.
    4. How closely aligned the print media is to the target segment for the product
    5. The time of year, if it is a seasonal product or marketplace
    6. The size, position and creative execution of the advertisement
    I'm sure others will think of more but that's a start.

    I used to think that 5% was a reasonable response rate for a direct mail campaign, and that 8-10% was outstanding. But for print media, you can't really look at response rates per thousand copies on the circulation. What you really need to look at is whether you're getting an adequate ROI.

    I'd measure this by adding up all the costs for a campaign (even if you only run one ad only once) and compare that to the gross profits generated from attributable sales.

    When you're offering a trial, you need to be able t track trialers versus eventual purchasers, and estimate their value in GP terms.

    It's a complex analytical model but if you take the trouble to do the hard work, I'm sure you'll be able to rely solidly on the knowledge generated to make better decisions for subsequent campaigns.

    Hope that helps. If not, feel free to contact me via my profile.
  • Posted on Accepted
    It's such a variable medium since you have to take into account your message, product and the publication you select to run your advertising. It's really about your ad effectiveness and reaching the appropriate market(s).

    I did read a recent article about different advertising modes that indicates print advertising is still OUT SELLING product over television and other modes with television being used to "brand" and print advertising being used to sell.

    You might be able to find comparison info that way.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Wanted to throw in my two cents as I very much disagree with some points made by the previous respondees.

    The response rates quoted for direct mail are way too high for the US. They are around 2%, and can be much lower. The DMA tracks this annually. Since print is not a typical "direct" medium, you can expect response rates for it to be orders of magnitude less. The DMA data typically shows response rates on average of 0.15%, with a "best case" (print with a coupon/offer?) that can be as high as 0.5%. But you can see these are very low.

    "marketingriot" states that print advertising is used to sell. This is inaccurate, at least 95% of the time. Print is regarded as an "above the line" activity. And when you look at the response rates as noted above, you understand why.

    I'd question why you are using print to incent trial of your product. I know direct mail is often a non-option for consumer goods (lack of end-user data), but there are other direct response media you should examine, not the least of which is online.

    I'd start with a media effectiveness study if I were you - where have we spent our dollars in the past, and what are the results? and then do a competitive analysis, including a look at some best-in-class companies like P&G who may not be direct competitors, but have figured this out thru deliberate trial and testing, and are moving more and more of their marketing budgets to online media.

    Best of luck.
  • Posted by BJC on Member
    Just remember - the conversion rate should be those that responded to the ad, go the free trial and then actually paid for the final product.

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