Technology allows newspapers to target digital content based on readers’ previous behaviour. Satisfying audiences is about making sure content is relevant, interesting, and engaging to readers.

The majority of Canadians consider newspapers to be the most credible and comprehensive source for news and information. They value newspapers because they are informative, convenient to navigate, and are a trusted source that presents varied perspectives and provides up-to-date information.

The chart below highlights the full range of positive values of readers in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, Canada’s largest cities.

Individuals who harbour positive attitudes toward newspapers have higher readership than adults generally.

The most “engaged” readers are the readers who look to their newspapers for a perspective on the news. Readers count on newspapers to provide an informative and broad analysis of issues and events.

Are we asking the right questions?

Engagement metrics are rising in importance to advertisers as they evaluate media choices. The burgeoning field of behavioural economics informs us that, contrary to past beliefs, we humans are not rational.

By the time we can tell a researcher why we did something, our brains have moved well beyond the true reasons for our behaviour to “justification” of our decisions.

Researchers are finding ways to better understand what drives behaviour. New techniques and questions help us to better understand the decision-making process and what drives behaviour. 

This insight will put us in a better position to determine what influences newspaper readers to read and readers to respond positively to advertising in newspapers.

Current research tells us that the advertising in newspapers is better received and more likely to be acted upon than advertisements in other media. Two out of three adults purchased an item they saw advertised in a newspaper in the past year.

Relevance: a new metric?

I recently attended a presentation by Andrea Coville and read her book, Relevance: The Power to Change Minds and Behaviour and Stay Ahead of the Competition. I highly recommend the book and her research.

Coville defines relevance and goes on to explain, using her research, why it is relevance that matters to a brand’s success.

In a world of unlimited choices for every action, decision, and behaviour, she says: “… the only way they are going to pay attention is if you can create an emotional connection. What you say needs to resonate.”

Her research demonstrates that if a brand, a product, or a service has relevance to the consumer, it has “the power to change minds and behaviour.”

Everyone is busy, and newspapers are one service and resource among many. Every newspaper needs to be an integral and valuable part of a reader’s everyday life to be a success.

Once we find the best approaches to determine what the key is to bringing that relevance to each reader, the better newspapers will be able to target print and digital content to all readers.

Newspapers are relevant

The value and importance of newspapers in today’s fast-paced world of information overload is often missed or underplayed.

I cannot resist ending with a story: I was with a group of people chatting about real estate options, and one friend started on about how you could not live across from a subway station. The newspaper boxes were really annoying in the morning and she wants them banned from all residential areas. Starting very early, and continuing to mid-morning, the noise was unbearable! People kept opening and closing them; the clunk, clunk, clunk woke her up every morning.

Perhaps not such a bad thing!