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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How They Track Digital Magazines' Audiences

A little insight tonight into the world of magazine publishing and what a magazine's success is ultimately measured against.

Let's begin with two definitions:

BPA Worldwide (BPA) = Business Publications Audit of Circulation, Inc. BPA Worldwide audits the circulation of business-to-business and consumer magazines. It also provides audit services for newspapers, Web sites, events, email newsletters, digital magazines and other advertiser-supported media produced by its members. Membership comes from the media owners and advertisers.

BPA Worldwide is the largest auditor of media in the world in terms of membership. BPA is similar to Audit Bureau of Circulations, providing independent, third-party verified data that media owners provide to media buyers and advertisers.

BPA Worldwide audited data provides media owners, advertisers and advertising agencies with independent assurance that they are reaching the right audiences.

Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) = is a non-profit circulation-auditing organization. It is one of several organizations, operating in different parts of the world, that audits circulation, readership, and audience information for the magazines, newspapers, and other publications produced by their members.

ABC is a forum of the magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies, similar to BPA Worldwide. As a non-profit association, ABC is funded by dues and service fees by advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers. ABC provides credible, verified information critical to the media buying and selling process by conducting independent, third-party audits of print circulation, readership and Web site activity. ABC also maintains an electronic database of audited circulation and readership media.

The measurement of a magazine's performance data is vital to both consumers and advertisers to insure they are buying or investing in the right magazine with the right content and audience.

Makes sense, right? Hell yes ... BUT, the new digital metrics are harder to follow and damn near impossible to measure.

Damn near impossible but not impossible.

Ioanna Opidee teaches us this in an article for FOLIO magazine:

BPA Issues New and Amended Rules for 2012

App reporting continues to present a challenge.

Media auditor BPA Worldwide approved a number of new and amended rules during its December 2011 meeting in New York City, including several that address the increasing difficulty of measuring a magazine’s digital audience.

Reporting app usage, specifically, has been a challenge, increasingly so as the format is moving toward “push,” rather than email, notification of a new issue’s delivery, for which there is no mechanism for tracking successful delivery.

To address this, the BPA board has approved reporting “downloaded apps” by month within a BPA Brand Report, as opposed to a standard BPA report, along with a footnote disclosing the limitations of the figures. Apps related to the brand but not serving editorial content—such as a game—must be reported as their own channel in the Brand Report and cannot be counted as a digital copy. App copies, as opposed to downloaded issues, cannot be reported as qualified circulation.

Subscriber access to digital copies will now be used to substantiate a renewal in the following cases: when a weekly publication has been accessed nine times every six months, when a monthly publication has been accessed twice every six months, when a quarterly publication has been accessed once every six months and when a semiannual publication has been accessed once per audit period.

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