What is the true reach of printed advertising?

October 2020

What is the best media for new customer acquisition? The ultimate question for any business, but any marketing professional worth their punch will know this hugely differs depending on what it is you are actually advertising. Media planners can also tell you that it is rare that a single type of media will be the sole driver of new business. It will almost always be supported by additional channels as part of an integrated campaign.

So where does print sit in the marketing mix and does it have any real reach? Posthub, part of the Whistl group and partnered with JICMAIL, take a look into the reach and frequency of Direct Mail to better understand the true power of print. 

Who are JICMAIL?

JICMAIL has been established by an industry-wide group including the IPA, ISBA, DMA, Whistl and Royal Mail. The purpose of JICMAIL is to provide the same media metrics for mail that are available for other channels and are used by planners regularly to help plan media campaigns.

Advertising mail is the third largest media channel in the UK, worth an estimated £1.7bn annually. JICMAIL stands for Joint Industry Committee for Mail and delivers industry-standard audience measurement data for advertising mail and door drops.

The Reach & Frequency Of Advertising Mail


What does reach mean for Direct Mail?

Item reach refers to the number of people in a household who have been exposed to a mail item. When a mail item has been delivered, it is automatically assigned a reach of one on the assumption that the household co-ordinator will be exposed to that item through the act of sorting through the mail.

What does frequency mean for Direct Mail?

Frequency is the number of times a mail item has been interacted with based on the following list of physical interactions:

  • Opened it
  • Read / looked at / glanced at it
  • Put it on display for example the fridge or noticeboard
  • Passed it on or left out for who it is for
  • Put it aside to look at later
  • Threw it away / recycled it
  • Took it out of the house for example to work
  • Used / did something with the information
  • Put it in the usual place 

The reach of Direct Mail

The reach for Direct Mail is 1.14. This means that for every 100 mail items delivered, another 14 will see it effectively increasing your reach for free.

Direct Mail Reach

The frequency of Direct Mail

The frequency of Direct Mail is 4.18. This means that for every 100 mail items delivered, your items will get a further 418 ad impressions.

Direct Mail Frequency

What happens to Direct Mail when it is delivered?

So we can see how many people interact with Direct Mail on average and we know how many times they interact with it but what are those interactions?

70% of all Direct Mail items delivered are in fact opened (should they be enclosed within an envelope). 63% are opened immediately with a further 18% opened subsequently.

Take a look at the breakdown of interactions below.

Direct Mail Interactions.png

Does Direct Mail’s reach and frequency change for different industries?

As with most channels, the results differ for different industries. Interestingly we can see a fairly consistent reach for Direct Mail across all sectors however there is a greater difference in frequency across the board.

Industry Reach And Frequency Of Direct Mail.png

Does Direct Mail’s reach and frequency change for different social grades?

Social grades range from A (higher household income) to DE (lower household income). Understanding the difference in reach and frequency for Direct Mail within these households will improve your campaign planning. Item reach again does not overly differ across the grades but is highest for C2. There is also not a great difference in frequency however C2DE is more likely to interact with an ad mail item.

Direct Mail Reach By Social Grade.png

Data sources

The research within this article comes from JICMAIL Mail Media Metrics.

You can download their full report and read more insights on their website here. 

Who are Posthub?

Posthub, part of the Whistl Group are experts in all aspects of advertising mail. Our consultative approach to postal campaigns, means your brand and business benefits from a personal approach. 

Get in touch today

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