The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph will be spitting feathers over direct marketing again this week after it has been revealed that newspaper inserts have now been overtaken by magazine and third-party distributions for the first time in history.
Even more worrying for the DM-bashing press, insert volumes have dropped by around 25% in the past year alone – to 908 million – with overall volumes down by 45% since 2014, according to the DMA’s Annual Inserts Industry Report 2018.
This is mostly due to the steep decline in newspaper inserts, which have dropped by 72% over the 12-month period. On the other hand, magazine and third-party inserts have remained relatively stable, falling by 9% (137 million) and 9% (109 million) respectively.
Since 2014, the third-party channel has actually increased over the same period by 9.8% and enjoys a number of advantages over rival media; delivered along with ‘host’ carrier brands, third-party inserts arrive when the consumer is in a positive mind-set, just as they receive their purchased items, the report claims.
It adds that inserts continue to offer a viable alternative to direct mail. As data protection legislation tightens, inserts give advertisers the opportunity to reach an audience without handling their personal data.
The DMA has also been quick to point out that marketers of print media should not necessarily view this report with gloom. The decline in volumes can be partly attributed to better segmentation and delivery of campaigns. Advertisers are able to target consumers more efficiently and with better results, reducing the need for large-scale, scattergun approaches.
DMA Print Council deputy chair Ben Briggs, who is also media strategy director at St Ives-owned agency Edit, said that although the decline in newspaper inserts “remains a concern”, it is being offset in part by the demand for third-party dispatch.
He added: “It’s fair to say newspaper volumes may continue to fall, perhaps largely due to a mass shift towards digital current affairs content, but they will continue to have an important place as a marketing medium for the foreseeable future. This tactility can go as far as offering potential customers the opportunity to sample the product too.
“Inserts are a unique advertising platform for showcasing products and services. They stand out from the medium they are placed in, possess the additional asset of being tactile that is missing from some other media, and can be produced in a variety of sizes allowing brands to construct creative messages tailored to the task at hand.”
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