An intense three-year study into the advertising return on investment of 17 different brands across multiple channels has resulted in a key takeout for advertisers and their media planners: Reading, especially on digital platforms, consistently delivered the greatest ROI for every R1 spent.

“This study was conducted by Nielsen and is based on three years of empirical real spend data, including all other marketing mix elements such as price, promotion, place and product,” said Josephine Buys, CEO of the Publisher Research Council of SA.

“These 17 case studies, conducted over three years, prove to advertisers that print and digital should form part of clients next campaign. So, this proof of ROI is the justification in itself, as opposed to classic planning metrics of cost per thousand (CPT), reach and frequency,” she added.

Nielsen analysts surveyed brands across six categories, which included toothpaste, analgesics, coffee, snacks and chips, chocolate and liquor (spirits, wine and ciders) over a 156-week period. The advanced analytics team conducted sophisticated regression analysis right down to individual store level.

Access to this invaluable multi-million rand research by Nielsen has been made available to the industry by the PRC.

Briefly, it found:

  1. Digital gives best return on investment
  2. Print gives the third best ROI
  3. Media that is read (print and digital combined) gives better ROI than any other above-the-line media
  4. When combinations of all above the line media are used, sales lifts can increase up to 10% on top of what each would contribute individually 

Peter Langschmidt, research consultant to the PRC, said there were hundreds of combinations so “media has to be switched on and off continually and sales measured if the regression is going to truly identify the particular advertising medium as the cause of the sales change. This is the primary reason why these case studies are on-going for over three years and are truly robust”.

As the table indicates, for every rand spent, digital performs best and returns R2.30 while print at R1.35 is in third place. A simple average of these two ‘read’ media is a whopping R1.83, greater than any other single medium.

The PRC’s mission over the past few years has been to investigate the inherent strength of the published word. As Langschmidt points out, the case studies developed over three years now provide solid evidence that detailed product information, prices and comparisons on hundreds of brands and store locations translates directly into more sales at the till and a better advertising ROI.

* Link to the study


Publisher Research Council (PRC) DNA

The Publisher Research Council (PRC) of South Africa provides innovative ‘gold standard’ Reader Audience Measurement founded on global and local best-in-class practice, expertise and resources. It conducts large scale, representative audience and reading efficacy research on behalf of its members. As a non-profit company representing the interests of print and online publishers in South Africa, the PRC’s research is conducted to gain an understanding of published media usage in South Africa, providing information to individual titles for internal use by members, as well as insights vital to advertisers and their agencies.  It was established as a Joint Industry Council in 2016 with representation from advertising and media agencies who continue to provide important feedback and advice on technical committees. The council is held by publishing companies that collectively own over 700 titles. Current members include Tiso Blackstar Group, CTP Caxton, Independent Media, Media24, Mail & Guardian and Associated Magazines.

Issued on behalf of PRC by Stone Soup Public Relations, 011 447 7241