Beware of false print circulation claims

Manufacturing print advertisers should be wary of publications boasting inflated circulation and readership figures without substantiation of those figures.

For accurate circulation figures the only official and reliable sources are the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) and the Circulations Audit Board (CAB).

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) and Circulations Audit Board (CAB) are non-profit industry organisations created to ensure independent verification of media.

ABC’s primary audit services verifies paid circulation while CAB provides audit services for the print media, exhibitions and many other forms of media advertising.
This information is made available to help advertisers and media buyers make informed decisions.

CAB audited data represents the average distribution per issue of a publication, as well as distribution methods used to reach readers.

Industry Update magazine has the highest verified distribution in the CAB Manufacturing category – as measured in March this year.

CAB director of marketing Heather Craven warned advertisers to beware of publications that could not provide advertisers with official CAB information.

“Advertisers should never advertise in unaudited media, she says. “If publications are not prepared to be audited, we don’t want advertisers to spend money with them.”

Carol Morris, executive director of the Media Federation of Australia believes: “there is no excuse for print publications not to be audited.

“In today’s climate, greater accountability is demanded by clients and their media agencies, said Ms Morris.

“A CAB audit demonstrates integrity and accountability to advertisers and is endorsed by the MFA. 

“CAB audited data delivers accurate circulation information that media buyers rely on, anything less does not make good business sense.

“As an advertiser, a publication that provides an independent audit gives you the confidence of being delivered the distribution you pay for and maximum exposure for your advertising spend.”

Publications that are not CAB accredited must not associate with the CAB in any manner, either through use of the logo or any claim to membership until they meet the reporting requirements of membership.

Some publications also mislead advertisers using a “play on words” claiming to be the “largest circulating” or “highest selling” when they are the only publication in a particular category.

Complaints about publications making inaccurate, exaggerated or fraudulent claims should be directed to the ACCC or state departments of Fair Trading.

Detailed ABC and CAB data is now available online.

On August 15 the ABC and CAB will unveil a new website (, offering advertisers a free trial.

For the first time advertisers and media buyers will have access to audited web audience data and print media data through the new ‘eData’ portal.

Media providers can showcase all of their channels in one location, allowing advertisers and media buyers to better understand their total audience.