How to Buy FSIs
Finally, consider any other geographically based sales patterns you've experienced in other media. Stanton suggests this information can be helpful in picking test markets.
Making the Buys
Experts recommend beginning by testing remnant space, available at a lower cost per thousand (CPM) than guaranteed space. "You can buy [remnant space] for in the single digits, often at $4/M or under," Attisani says.
For a half-page advertisement, Stanton says to expect to pay in the $2/M to $3/M range for remnant space, depending on the circulation level being placed, frequency of the buys, time of the year, and the requirements of specific markets. Publications usually charge production handling and key code charges in addition to the CPM, he notes.
Later, when you have a clear idea of where your product and offer does well, you can consider buying guaranteed space.
Analyzing Your Buys
FSIs admittedly don't provide great response rates when compared to other direct response media. The results measurement will be in tenths of a percent, says Stanton. But the low CPM charge enables a wide range of marketers to use FSIs successfully.
To determine whether this medium makes sense for you, calculate your breakeven. Look at your cost of goods sold. Compare that to the total price of the insert program.
Says Stanton, "If the cost of goods (COG) is 50 percent or more, it will be very difficult to be successful in [using] FSIs. Chances of success increase dramatically when the COG is in the 25-percent to 30-percent range."
As with all direct response placements, you need a large enough sample to produce reliable test results. Plan to test a minimum of a million inserts. "With more than 60 million available on a weekly basis, you'll need at least that to get any sense of what's going on," notes Attisani.