ABC to Audit Publishers's Readership Studies
Upping The credibility of Reader Surveys
Magazine publishers know that making claims about one's readers based on direct-mail subscriber studies is like boasting about your good looks in a personal ad: You may be telling the truth, but don�t expect anyone to take your word for it. That could change, though.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations is introducing a new program that could cause advertisers to regard subscriber study data from participating magazines with less skepticism.
Under that program, called Subscriber Profile, ABC works with research providers to audit each step of a subscriber study, from ensuring that the sample selected is representative to seeing to it that questions are worded in a standardized way to avoid biasing the responses.
This is so long overdue. I have had to endure years of readership study puffery. I hope this works. I hope it becomes a standard. Whether it insures accuracy, I don't know. Even if it doesn't, at least we will be able to fairly compare the puffery.