Who is picking up magazines from pick up points these days? Not many. Certainly far fewer since the pandemic started in March.

If you advertise in a magazine that relies on pick up points for its distribution method then the drop in responses is easily explained.  Since March, footfall has dramatically dropped in retail outlets, salons, local attractions, leisure centres, estate agents, cafes, pubs, restaurants, boutiques, theatres – all prime pick up locations for a variety of magazines – so who’s picking up these magazines? If the publisher is printing the same number as before there must be a huge number of waste copies.  That’s your advertising being thrown in the bin. If the publisher is reducing the print run, which is the obvious course of action, then what’s the decreased circulation figure and are they reducing what they charge accordinly?

To add insult to injury this picture shows a stock of the Winchester Lifestyle magazine hidden completely from view, stacked behind a large stock (500+) of Romsey & Wellow Gazettes (in Chandlers Ford Asda). Advertisers in Winchester Lifestyle have no chance of seen, let only picked up!

To show where the Lifestyle magazine is in the stock of Gazettes, it’s been pulled up for this picture.

Magazine distribution via supermarkets is a very quick and hassle free method of getting magazines “out of the door” but it’s not as reliable and as targeted as the door to door method.

Winchester Lifestyle Advertisers Not Getting a Look In.

Door to Door is Best

Since lockdown 1 huge numbers of people are working from home or staying indoors following government guidelines. Workers who commuted to towns and cities are now spending much more time and money nearer home, engaging with local businesses they didn’t use before.

To reach this audience, the obvious solution is to advertise in a magazine that is delivered directly to the homes of the same people you are trying to target using pick up points! Take out the risk factor, add in the reliability element and benefit from a regular, consistent approach to your advertising spend.

With so many people working from home the arrival of a free, local magazine with lots of editorial to read landing on their doormat is a welcome distraction.  Residents are now more often at home when the post arrives.  A local magazine delivered by Royal Mail or a local distributor is read at coffee time, their lunch break or whenever they have free time (and time is something we all have more of these days!).

Discover Magazine has always been letterbox delivered by the postman or a team of local distributors. With the pandemic still at risk of disrupting our distribution schedule in 2021, we’ve switched delivery by local distributors in some areas to Royal Mail. Going forward, until further notice, Discover’s total circulation of 185,000 copies will be delivered door to door to 100,000 by Royal Mail (up from 78,000 in 2020) and 85,000 by our local distributor team.

Top Tips on Pick Up Advertising

If the publication you advertise in is a “pick up”, ask for proof of copies printed and numbers left pick up locations.  I live in Chandlers Ford and see hundreds of last month’s Romsey & Wellow Gazette in a dispenser in Asda along with Winchester Lifestyle about to make way for the next issue coming in.

Ask for a reduction in the rate based on the revised figures.

  • If a magazine is letterbox delivered by Royal Mail ask what postcode sectors are booked (Royal Mail website has the numbers of homes per postcode sector or ask me as I have the list of every UK postcode and letterboxes in each)
  • If a magazine is letterbox delivered by distributors ask if they are GPS tracked – not every publisher does this as it’s quite labour intensive to monitor, track and check completed routes but it’s the only way to ensure the service you are charging your advertisers for is being delivered.
  • Some publications are a mix of pick up points and letterbox delivered.  Ask exactly how many are delivered and where.  Publishers (except Discover) are often reluctant to put figures of print and distribution in writing hoping to have the flexibility to reduce or change them should revenue drop.