7 Stats on Magazine Readership

Communicating with a strategic purpose means that Catholic dioceses must measure the effectiveness of their publications. Experts agree that any tool used to reach a targeted audience should produce measurable results. This is why FAITH Catholic conducts bi-annual readership surveys for each of its publications, assuring each diocese that their precious resources actually are accomplishing their goals for communication and evangelization.

FAITH’s bishop-publishers establish those goals for their individual dioceses based on their unique ministerial objectives, and then FAITH creates engaging and attractive magazines and digital editions to help achieve them. A publication that does not reflect the goals of the bishop fails to advance his priorities for his diocese, but at the same time, a publication must also entice readers to open its pages and become involved with the message within. FAITH’s reader surveys prove that FAITH publications accomplish this two-pronged approach.

FAITH’s diocesan magazines:

  • Interest the vast majority of people
  • Make people feel more connected to the faith and the church
  • Entice people to spend at least 15 minutes per month reading Catholic content

The Full Measure

1. 81% of readers find the magazine interesting

Magazine auditors urge publishers to monitor interest most importantly. Without interest, readers set aside a publication and won’t seek out content deep inside that may be relevant to them. In addition, because most FAITH magazines are distributed free to homes in their dioceses, the magazines must garner interest from readers of all ages. This challenge is made more difficult by the fact that only 25% of American Catholics regularly attend mass, indicating a low level of participation in the faith. Yet the vast majority of those surveyed indicate strong interest in FAITH magazines, which means FAITH’s unique content matrix encourages people to open their hearts to witness stories, formation, advice for daily living, and news about the culture and the Church.

2. 83% of readers say the magazine makes them feel more connected to their Catholic faith

Most bishop-publishers say that strengthening Catholic identity among their people is a major priority. FAITH magazines show the faces of fellow Catholics, offering formation and education that builds Catholic identity in their readers. In fact, for most readers, FAITH magazines are the only Catholic publication that enters the home, which means its accessible message and attractive presentation are vital in evangelizing disengaged Catholics.

3. 2/3 of readers spent at least 15 minutes per month reading an edition of FAITH magazine

Despite the obvious impact of digital and social media in today’s communications, there is still no more effective way to encourage depth of engagement than with print publications. Nothing matches print when it comes to the amount of time a reader spends absorbing an organization’s content, and FAITH’s publications demonstrate this fact through reader surveys. By comparison, there is literally no parish or diocesan program that reaches two thirds of Catholics for fifteen minutes each month with the Catholic message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the work of his Church.

4. The vast majority of readers receive formation and advice for living through FAITH magazines

  • 81% say the magazine “improves my understanding of the mission and teachings of the Church”
  • 73% say the magazine “moves me to be more interested in spiritual growth”
  • 65% say the magazine “helps me explain my Catholic faith to family and friends”

For most bishops, a primary goal is for parishioners to grow in discipleship so that they can evangelize others. FAITH’s research shows how our publications help accomplish this objective in three concrete ways:

  • Our publications include curriculum-based content that helps people grow in their understanding of their faith and the mission of the Church.
  • FAITH magazines help people grow in spirituality by encouraging prayer and the application of Gospel values in relationships and daily life.
  • As they grow in faith, people need tools to evangelize and share their understanding of Jesus Christ and the Church. FAITH helps them do this with multi-media resources built for today’s digital and social media world.

5. 73% of readers say their FAITH magazine gives them a greater sense of association with other Catholics

Stories of Christian witness are the cornerstone of the FAITH Catholic content matrix, a proven blend of narrative, formation, advice, and information that addresses all of readers’ needs. In particular, personal profiles of people who have encountered Christ at pivotal points of their lives serve as modern day parables that communicate the truth of God’s love and presence in concrete and relatable features. These stories form a powerful connection between Christ, the Church, and the people of God.

6. 79% say the magazine increases their awareness of programs and ministries offered by their diocese

Most good diocesan publications help spread the word about activities of the diocese and its parishes. FAITH publications also fulfill this important function, but because they include even more content that garners interest and appeals to readers, the news that is included in the publication is more likely to be read and acted upon. Thus readers not only feel informed about what’s going on, but more connected to the Church as a whole. In addition, the Church is at a critical juncture in society at which it must speak boldly about issues of the day to promote the Catholic perspective. Through special issues and editorial sections, FAITH magazines can elevate a news topic to its proper importance and call greater attention to the critical messages that the Church seeks to impart.

7. FAITH magazines help build stewardship for the Church

  • 56% say the magazine “makes me want to be more active in my parish”
  • 60% say the magazine “encourages me to support my parish financially”
  • 53% say the magazine “encourages me to give to the diocesan appeal”

Nearly every bishop places stewardship high on his list of priorities. Assuring that the financial needs of the diocese and its parishes are met weighs heavily among the goals that allow the Church to reach out to individuals in need as well as to evangelize. FAITH publications help to illustrate the importance of giving one’s time, talent and treasure in support of the Church.

About the Research

FAITH Catholic’s survey included readers of 22 client publications, with a combined 1.2 million in circulation. Of this number, a random sample of one percent of readers was selected, creating 12,000 surveys that were customized for each participating diocese. The average return per diocese was 15 percent, giving a clear picture of readers’ habits and opinions for each publication.