Circulation & readership: our approach explained

Circulation and readership aren’t the same thing, though some people conflate them.

Circulation’s easy to measure – if you’re willing to subject your magazine to the scrutiny of independent auditing – but readership’s another matter. So let’s deal with circulation first.

For information on the circulation of our UK edition click here

Passive House Plus is an ABC audited magazine. The ABC – or Audit Bureau of Circulations, to give it its full title – is an organisation set up in 1931 to independently audit the circulation claims of publishers. ABC provides a stamp of trust for media buyers, media owners, publishers and digital traders working in existing and emerging platforms. Basically if a magazine’s claimed circulation figures are ABC audited, they’re real.

So how do we fare? Our Irish edition boasts an ABC audited average circulation of 6162 copies (July 2014/June 2015), while our UK edition comes in at 9140 copies. In both cases, these results represent the largest circulation of any sustainable building related magazine, whereas the Irish edition has the highest circulation of any construction related magazine on the market.  And we're aiming to grow this in next year's results. To that end we've upped the print run of both editions by 1000 copies starting with issue 14. 

There’s also the small matter of our digital version, which is available two ways: paid and free.

All paying subscribers will have access to digital versions each new issue (and the archive we’ll build up of past issues). Click here to see our various subscription options.

People who fill out our reader enquiry form can also access our digital editions. This system is a chance for readers to tell us about their upcoming new build/upgrade projects and get in contact with companies offering the sustainable products/services that interest them. Click here to view the form.

This data also helps us generate surveys of market trends like this one that helped inspire our evolution into Passive House Plus.

We've recently decided to make back issues of Passive House Plus available for free online. We expect this to dramatically increase the readership, which up till now - largely from when the magazine was only available to subscribers - has averaged over 1350 reads per edition of each issue.

Readership
Readership figures are a tougher nut to crack. Some publishers claim high readership figures – sometimes without mentioning circulation figures. If you press them, they’ll probably talk about number of readers per copy. But there’s a problem here. We’re reliably informed that there’s no rule of thumb for the numbers of reader per copy. There are too many factors at play here to allow generalisations to be made. Was the magazine purchased or requested? Is it sent to an office? If so, how many people work in the office? Does the magazine get circulated between colleagues? Does the person receiving it even bother reading it, or does it end up straight in the bin?

Even if the magazine is read, how closely is it read? Would you rather advertise in a magazine that someone flicks through once and discards, or a valued publication that they pore over, reading from cover to cover, and act upon?  

The only way to give a reasonably accurate answer to these questions is to ask a representative sample of readers. We have yet to commission such a survey, but it’s in our plans.

For now, all we can offer you is the least reliable form of evidence: anecdotes. We have a large number of really, really nice anecdotes admittedly, from both readers and advertisers. So while they can’t be taken as a representative sample in the same way that a properly conducted reader survey would, they should give you a strong sense of just how enthusiastic many of our readers and advertisers are. Click here to read a sample.

Last modified on Friday, 05 February 2016 15:42

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