From print to online magazine advertising: the tech that changed it all

Over the past decade, the print magazine advertising industry has seen a rapid decline, roughly halving in revenue. This is thanks to the online space since people can access news and trends via the internet and social media sites, which has rapidly cut print production. While it has meant a lot of publications have faced challenges, most have revelled in the opportunity to create an online magazine. Big UK magazines like National Geographic and Cosmopolitan are just some of the many that have taken the internet by storm, and this doesn’t go without thanks to online advertising.

Advertising online vs in print

Traditional forms of advertising involved an advertiser (such as a business), paying a publisher (for example, a magazine), to place their advert on a page, often taking the shape of a full page, half page or quarter page spread. The principle behind print and online ads are the same, yet online ads often take the shape of a banner and are clickable. By utilising a form of advertising named PPC (pay per click), a publisher not only benefits from revenue from the ad space they provide but from the traffic they drive to the advertiser’s site, which means they have more potential for revenue.

While this is more powerful than offline print ads, the risks are greater. Unfortunately, the online space doesn’t come without danger and with hackers trolling the internet, malicious advertisements don’t yet cease to exist. This is where an unsafe pop-up ad could be placed on a publisher’s site, damage their revenue and, potentially, harm their reader. There is software available, like Geoedge, which works to combat this problem. Via such preventive measures, publishers can reach their full potential by using adblocking software which means their reputation and audiences don’t come to harm.

The advantages of online advertising

Traditional forms of advertising lack the ability to track success. After all, how does a publisher see if their offline advert has caused increased magazine sales or if their magazine sales have led to investment in an advertised brand? Yet, with online advertising, publishers can track who has seen an advert, who has interacted with it and who has been converted into a customer. This works both ways: for the publisher and the advertiser.

A lot of publishers choose to post ads on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram since they have over 1 billion users. The publisher can target who their ad reaches and via ad-specific software, can track who the advert has been seen by and what action has been taken. This enables publishers to improve their ad spend in the future, as they can evaluate what does and doesn’t work for them.

Equally, advertisers that choose a particular publisher, can see how well their ad is performing on their site. This has greater power than traditional ads since ad placement would have relied on evaluating a publishers USP and audience to determine if it’s suitable for a business. Yet, via online tracking, an advertiser can actually see if these predictions are correct.

It’s clear that the online publishing landscape is much different to its offline counterpart since it targets and maintains readers in different ways. Newfound technology has been a significant contributing factor to this and its with thanks to the internet, that new forms of advertising have taken shape.

Photograph by Jaralol