Seven reasons to advertise in custom magazines | The Media Online

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Seven reasons to advertise in custom magazines

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Custom magazines are invariably linked to a specific retail brand, so why would anyone else want to advertise their brand in one of these publications? Custom publisher Irna van Zyl has great experience in this field and gives you seven reasons why it’s a good idea.

Long gone are the days when customer publishing and content marketing were the stepchildren of marketing. Now it is often leading the way, and therefore all the more reason to be a medium of choice when we talk about audience engagement, reach and effectiveness. So, let me give you my sound reasons for taking this route:

Targeted distribution

A customer magazine or digital product is often mailed or personalised to a client. You would, more often than not, know what the reader’s shopping habits or other preferences are. “The demographic is tailor-made,” says Aileen Lamb, national advertising director at New Media Publishing.

Cost-effective and guaranteed circulation Media companies can often deliver a really good cost per thousand, as circulations could be big. Of the 20 biggest magazines in the country, 17 are customer publications. Customer publications have also held their circulation in the last couple of years with the rise of digital media and the recession, while consumer magazines declined to a large extent.


Research by the Association of Publishing Agencies in London (APA) shows that readers of customer magazines are “more likely to hold positive views on the brand”. In South Africa, our research has shown that, on average, a consumer’s attention is kept for 30 minutes or more by a customer magazine. In the UK, 57% of consumers read at least half of a customer magazine, while in top-performing magazines that figure can go as high as 78%.


Response, attitude, uptake and effectiveness are all things monitored, researched and carefully watched by clients. Third-party advertisers can only benefit from this knowledge. Customer magazines and their online brands work. The APA has found that 47% of readers are more likely to purchase products featured in a customer magazine than in any other type of marketing or advertising. This is supported by research in South Africa that we at New Media Publishing have commissioned on specific brands.

Not chucked out

Contrary to the belief a couple of years ago, research (by the Direct Marketing Association in the UK) has shown that customer magazines are the least likely to be ignored, thrown away, cancelled or unsubscribed than any other form of direct marketing. They are most likely to be regarded as informative, relevant and generate a positive brand perception or action. They are also likely to be saved for a later read or passed on to other potential readers.

Growing medium

Customer publishing is the second fastest-growing medium after internet advertising.


Not only does it deliver a ‘tailor-made demographic’ but it creates the right environment for third-party advertising.

This story was first published in The Media magazine.