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Revealing Some Home Truths

Magnetic’s latest event focused on the homes sector, combining new research with an expert panel to explore: the changing role played by magazines and other media in driving price and establishing demand in the homes sector; the contextual effects of different display and editorial content; and the changing purchase journey for tech, interiors, kitchen and bathroom decisions.

Sue Todd, the chief executive of Magnetic, welcomed the packed audience to London’s Hospital Club with some broader context on the magazine industry: “It’s been a big year for magazine publishing, including changes in ownership and launches –some in homes, and some in tech.”

She explained that the launch of audience measurement currency PAMCo in April provides better understanding and evidence around magazines and their audience delivery. For instance, it shows that homes magazines reach 8.6 million adults a month, and also reveals that magazines deliver extremely well against values such as “time well spent” (93%), “unique content” (70%), and “trust” (88%).

Part 1: The Research 'Home Truths'

Key findings:

  • 91% of home interiors buyers change their shortlisted brands after reading a print magazine.
  • 44% of kitchens and bathrooms buyers increase their budget after reading a print magazine
  • 40% increase in share of attention on the page when a print display ad is placed in a relevant context

Anna Sampson, Magnetic’s insight & strategy director, unveiled the new ‘Home Truths’ research that combines an extensive consumer survey with eye tracking to analyse the role of magazines when it comes to shortlisting, budget, and attention in the homes sector.

She described a backdrop of “challenging times for publishers, retailers and brands” operating in the homes sector. Factors such as the proliferation of technology, the threat of a no deal Brexit, and the stalling property market resulting in “homes brands feeling the pressure more than anybody else.” In this context, she explained, it’s natural that brands resort to price discounts that drive short-term sales and bring purchases forward.

This short-termism, along with the force of technological change, results in a “common response to jump to new solutions – a bias towards novelty” when what’s really needed are some “home truths” such as those outlined in The Grimsey Review, a response to the “vanishing high street”. Its author shows, for instance, that 85% of sales still touch a store.

In a similar vein, 66% of people still read magazines each month. Therefore, the physical store and print magazines both remain highly relevant.

Anna described how the ‘Home Truths’ research demonstrates the need for “evolution not revolution” when it comes to balancing established thinking with embracing the new. Her analysis of the findings opened with the role of print magazines in helping people to shortlist brands in the decision-making process.

91% of home interiors buyers change their shortlisted brands after reading a magazine.

And the majority (61%) of home interiors buyers reduce the length of their shortlist. The same is true of 55% of tech and connected homes buyers, showing clearly that print magazines provide a “way of helping consumers navigate an array of options.”

Anna then explored how magazines can help home interiors and tech brands with their challenges in term of price protection. The ‘Home Truths’ study demonstrates that print magazines help to maintain and build a premium price position.

For instance, 71% of furniture buyers either maintain or increase their budget after reading a printed magazine. When it comes to bathroom and kitchens, 44% increase their budget but the average boost is an impressive 39%. In home tech, 46% increased their budget, by an average 14%. Connected homes (where budgets are smaller) shows the largest impact with 61% increasing their budget, by an average of 67%.

We also see an exaggerated effect on budgets when magazines and review sites are combined. Underlining the benefits of working with magazine brands across print and online properties

Finally, Anna considered how print and editorial combine to provide stronger results for homes sector brands.

This included the eye tracking element of the research, which revealed that advertising in a relevant context achieves 40% more share of attention on the page, with consumers looking at the ad for much longer.

The three most important ‘Home Truths’:

  • Magazine brands play a key role in the shortlisting process.
  • They protect and even boost budgets. This applies to both print and review websites.
  • These effects are intensified by printed display advertising. There are opportunities for editorial and display to work in combination.

Part 2: The Panel

Home Truths

Russell Parsons, the editor of Marketing Week, hosted a lively panel debate that put the research in context. This featured David Hall, marketing communications manager at LG Electronics; Liz Harriott, head of entertainment at Shortlist Media; Rhoda Parry, editorial director at TI Media; and Ben Spriggs, the editor of Elle Decoration.

The first question focused on the challenges faced by magazines and what they can offer brands in the homes sector.

Both Ben Spriggs and Rhoda Parry emphasised the importance of print being at the heart of homes and tech sector magazine brands, with the “layering” of other content around this.  LG’s David Hall said: “It’s important to see publishers stay true to their content, the big thing we want is immediate access to an engaged audience. The balancing act for publishers is to deliver quality content together with the tools we need in terms of ease of access to data.”

The discussion embraced the challenge of providing this data, alongside impressive numbers, to finance and procurement departments. And trust in magazines was also a strong theme. Rhoda Parry said: “The strong view from consumers is that magazines are their trusted source, and that’s to do with the creativity with which we deliver that content. The context is that we know our audiences and deliver the right product, advice and inspiration.”

Liz Harriott introduced the thought that magazines work well with brands that take a long-term approach. David Hall agreed: “We make such a wide range of products that it’s very difficult to be too short term. When it comes to an OLED TV or the LG Signature range, then it’s not the sort of decision where a flashing MPU is going to have an impact. Full-page display advertising shows the impact of a product in the home and we want that access to the trust that readers have in magazines.”

And Liz Harriott also highlighted the issue of contextual relevance, raised in the ‘Home Truths’ research: “Placement next to relevant content is way more important than the strange competitive nature of ‘I want the first ad’ in a magazine.”

David Hall was impressed with the research findings that related to increased consumer budgets: “All brands want to get into the premium segment, and to see magazines can help with this is great news for us. That’s almost unique to print, you can’t get the same levels of inspiration or consideration from content online.”

Sue Todd concluded the session with a final message to emphasise the importance of collaboration and integration between publishers, brands, and agencies: “We’ve got to make it easier and more efficient. With PAMCo we have the new planning tool and audience system, both in print and digital, to make collaboration as easy as possible.”

Thanks to all that joined us, the pictures from the day are ready to view here 

Any questions about the research please get in touch at insight@magnetic.media


Rhoda Parry

TI Media

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Ben Spriggs

Elle Decoration

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Liz Harriott

Shortlist Media

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Russell Parsons

Marketing Week

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Anna Sampson


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David Hall

LG Electronics

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