This chart doesn’t fit into the current narrative

Friday Afternoon Pondering: Minonline.com is the source of the chart above that ranks the top performing publications (as measured by the number of pages of advertising) during the past quarter in the business-to-business vertical of marketing. … I can guess the theories: (A) Media companies are advertising aggressively because they have so much unsold inventory, (B) media companies are launching new properties and thus are buying more ads to promote them, (C) media companies are aggressively pushing the message that advertising in a recession is the mark of a savvy marketer, (D) none of the above, (E) all of the above.



Friday Afternoon Pondering: Minonline.com is the source of the chart above that ranks the top performing publications (as measured by the number of pages of advertising) during the past quarter in the business-to-business vertical of marketing. Minonline.com distributed a link to the chart as a teaser for its subscription-based service in which on Monday, I presume, the chart will be interpreted. At the link above, it merely states: “Crain’s Advertising Age shows its strength as the #1 publication on top of the advertising pages list for the 1st quarter. A less likely occupant is ST Media Group’s Signs of the Times with a first-quarter 2008, year-on-year 10% increase in ad pages and a nearly 40% increase for March 2008.”

Note: This is not the Signs of the Times magazine referred to, rather this publication about the sign industry is.

I’m not sure I trust the B2B media pundits to interpret this chart, however. I think it is a job for the guys at the Freakonomics Blog. How can advertising for advertising be so dramatically up in a quarter when advertising is supposed to be down — especially advertising in, of all media,B2B print publications.

I can guess the theories: (A) Media companies are advertising aggressively because they have so much unsold inventory, (B) media companies are launching new properties and thus are buying more ads to promote them, (C) media companies are aggressively pushing the message that advertising in a recession is the mark of a savvy marketer, (D) none of the above, (E) all of the above.

I’m guessing (doing anything else would require actual research and thought on my part) D & E are both correct answers. But again, I think it will take a skeptical economist to figure this out, not some analyst focusing on a narrow band of data related to the number of advertising pages sold.