Media24 has 46 local community publications. Ads24, its commercial advertising sales division, embarked on an online panel research study in June 2021 to determine engagement, trust, and the importance of advertising to consumers.
We used Forum24, an online survey platform tool. To grow the number of respondents, we advertised in our local community newspapers, inviting readers to join our online panel. To further grow our panel, we supported the onboarding initiative with a call to action on our community social media pages.
Media24 local news presented the findings from research conducted, drawing on fieldwork from June 1 through June 28, 2021. Forum24 members were invited to take part, with 2,811 answering — of which 2,174 qualified as local newspaper readers. A spread of locations, ages, and incomes ensured the sample was representative with a female skew, typical of local newspapers’ research.
Moreover, respondents were screened so only readers of Media24 titles qualified, thereby providing rich, powerful data for specific regions and titles.
Learning from its readers
Individual findings and rich insights were packaged to serve both as a strategic business tool and to equip the commercial sales team with positive and insightful information showcasing the research findings. To highlight and drive education about the fact that local newspapers are deeply rooted in their communities, Ads24 presented an engaging and highly informative virtual event to the advertising trade, targeting advertising agencies, and clients.
A panel of experts highlighted the role of local news, their journalists, and their trusted relationship within a community on a hyper-local level. The virtual event further served as an opportunity to create educational content in the form of video and long-form written pieces shared and amplified in trade PR and direct mailers.
Relevant, trusted, informative, and useful
Local newspapers are deeply rooted in their communities. This translates to a high level of trust and engagement when it comes to local newspapers, as the research shows:
- Most respondents (84%) read their local paper thoroughly, spending on average one hour to do so.
- They keep the newspaper for around five days, and share it, on average, with three other people.
- They consider the newspapers “relevant, trustworthy, credible, informative, and useful.”
During the pandemic, many people looked to their local newspapers for information. The pandemic may well have led to a closer relationship between readers and their local newspaper, as much of the research demonstrates. During hard lockdowns, the number of pageviews and unique browsers rose significantly as Media24 local news readers went online to get their local news.
Readers want advertising
Media24 local newspapers reach an estimated 4.1 million weekly readers. Advertising specials and promotions are an integral part of what readers want from a local newspaper. Readers are on the lookout for savings and special offers: 83% of the readers regularly turn to their local newspaper for this, even if they’re not looking for anything in particular.
Moreover, the people who read local newspaper are overwhelmingly (98%) purchasing decision-makers, and once they’ve finished reading, 97% of respondents report taking action.
“No other medium now can deliver quality, hyperlocal news content relevant to this audience the way local news titles do,” said Tasmia Ismail, general manager of Media24 advertising sales. “For existing or new brands entering a market, building trust, loyalty, and brand equity is key. It is everything local newspapers, especially Media24’s, stand for and live by — ensuring that supporting businesses thrive and grow with them.”