Print doesn’t work” and “print is expensive.” This is what we and probably many other media companies have started to hear when trying to convince media customers to allocate sizeable budgets to print media.

Due to poor measurability, we could not argue against this at all.

So it was really a question of either accepting the quick decline of print media advertising or making print media more measurable. The readers of printed newspapers had not disappeared; it was just the advertisers who were disappearing. 

But we have the data! 

We at Helsingin Sanomat then realised that we do have something that the measurable TV has and more. While we do not have a panel of 1,100 households that report their behaviour like television companies in Finland, we do have more than 7,000 daily readers of our digital PDF version of the printed newspaper.

Statistics about the tablet readers’ behaviour are automatically gathered; readers are identified by their usernames. Therefore, we can put weightings on the data based on gender and age to better reflect the print reader profiles. 

Because reading patterns differ when reading from a tablet versus reading from a print version, we conducted research and found that the differences were continuously the same. So these als0 can be taken into account by the weighting factors. Luckily, we had our professional consumer data and analytics team at Sanoma take over and quite quickly developed a good model.

Pilots proved it works

During summer 2014, we piloted the new measurement with some of our modern clients, like Ikea. Here are real results of Ikea case:

  • Full-page Ikea print ad in Helsingin Sanomat reached 630,000 people.

  • Two-thirds stopped at the ad page and 50% became interested (>5s on page).

  • Reader segment specific figures were also reported as totals (below) and as percentages. 

Clients and agencies were happy, and so were we. 

“Marketing management wants proof on effect of their marketing investment, and we are now much further in giving the evidence,” says Petteri Putkiranta, president of Helsingin Sanomat. 

Print in multi-channel packages

Measuring print gives print media a longer lifespan than without the measurement, but digital is to stay. We made multi-channel packages consisting of one million unique contacts out of Helsingin Sanomat readers. 

The beauty in this is that the declining print numbers are backed with growing digital numbers. So, the guaranteed one million unique contacts package can have a long life and stable pricing. 

Helsingin Sanomat product needs to be of the same superior quality, regardless the channel.

What’s next? 

This is a giant leap for us what comes to measurement. Knowing how many ad impressions there were for the ad and who stopped for how long is really interesting and valuable.

But, we need to be able to do more than that. 

In online media, we also need to be able to report more than just clicks. We need to prove that the money advertisers spent on media was worth it. 

“Our focus is on delivering good results for advertisers regardless of it is print or digital media,” Putkiranta says. “When print media is put on the same transparent pricing scheme with digital, there might be price pressure on printed media, but that’s a risk we are willing to take.”