Starch Research, which offers detailed return-on-investment analysis to advertisers looking to evaluate the effectiveness of their ads, is bringing a new service to Canada, in partnership with U.S. research firm GfK MRI. The new service, dubbed GfK MRI StarchMetrix, is already used by Canadian titles Reader’s Digest
and Best Health
, and has garnered the attention of global media agencies MediaCom and Mindshare.
Ordinarily, magazine publishers would issue polls to gauge the efficacy of their ads. Such polls would ask questions like “Did you read page 3? What about page 4? Did you see the ad on page 4? Did you read the whole page, or a portion? Did you read the whole issue, or just a few pages? How many issues have you read?”
Such metrics have their limitations. Where television has Nielsen ratings to track viewers, and the web logs every mouse-click and banner ad visited, magazines have more difficulty measuring the effectiveness of print advertising.
GfK MRI StarchMetrix assesses an ad's impact, and returns to the advertiser with proof of performance. It determines whether readers remembered the ad, recommended it to their friends, visited the product website, or purchased the product advertised. Starch enlists the aid of independent sample providers, surveying online panels of magazine readers. Between 40,000 and 50,000 interviews with readers of Canadian consumer magazines will be completed annually.
What about the cost?
“Starch is a syndicated service,” says Starch president Brian Hickey. “This means the cost is shared broadly across the magazine publishing and advertising community. Syndicated also means that all StarchMetrix subscribers have access to data on all of the magazines measured.”
“Agencies’ fees are determined by agency size. Publisher pricing is determined by frequency of publication — weekly, monthly, quarterly, and so on. We interview 125 respondents for every 25 ads being tested. So the sampling cost increases according to number of ads being measured.”
“Publishers need only sell a few more ads annually to have the program pay for itself,” added Hickey.