Auditing is a must for consumer and business magazines that depend on advertising and newsstand sales, but if your magazine is controlled circulation or directed at a small, well-defined group, do you really need to pay for an audit?
“Yes, an audit is necessary regardless of whether or not your circulation is controlled,” says Sue Scott of James G. Elliott, Inc. “With the increased competition for audience and ROI accountability, agency media buyers are more focused on having a trusted, impartial third-party independent verify what they are paying for.”
The big two circulation audit agencies are ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) and BPA (Business of Performing Audits International). BPA Worldwide is similar to ABC, however it tends to focus on trade publications, rather than consumer titles. BPA Worldwide audits the circulation of primarily business-to-business publications. It also provides audit services for consumer magazines, newspapers, Web sites, events, email newsletters, digital magazines and other advertiser-supported media produced by its members.

If you are at a particular point with your ad sales and your publication targets a special interest with a defined audience, audited circulation provides the buyer with a precise number of recipients, divided by geographic location classified by qualification source. With a variety of recipient mailing list sources available to publishers, an audit allows advertisers and media buyers the chance to evaluate the sources chosen by the publisher with one consolidated report. It classifies the data by paid or non-paid categories such as association membership, licensee lists, business directories, searchable databases and others sources.
It is vitally important to take away any of the guesswork for agencies and clients. We personally understand on a day-to-day basis our strengths, however considering the fact media groups think about us on a much less frequent basis proving its vitality and legitimizing the strengths is a must. Also, when you are defining circulation it is imperative that there is a clear vision of the audience. In today’s media environment, the amount of time that is allocated to study magazines has become more difficult as there are time burdens placed on media teams and more times than not, the path of least resistance becomes the choice.
MyBusiness Advertising Sales Manager Bob Washburn says that for a publication that is “not always considered top of mind, it becomes more imperative to take away any and all guess work to share the factual story and reality with third-party proof whether ABC or BPA.”