Research shows if engagement is what it’s all about, print newspapers deliver


Currently all media wrestle with what is the right metric to measure – readership, clicks, time spent, etc. In the online and social media circle, engagement is the latest trend.

This begs the question: Why not study engagement across media and see how each one stacks up? At Newspapers Canada (the industry association), we did exactly that.

We chose 11 characteristics for media engagement, seven general engagement statements and four focused on ad engagement specifically.

The general statements were: 

  • Trust the medium.

  • Personal connection with the medium.

  • Inspires me.

  • Makes my life better.

  • Enhances my interactions.

  • Holds the public’s best interests in mind.

  • The medium I go to when I have time to myself.

The ad engagement statements were:

  • Notice the ads.

  • The ads it contains make me more likely to purchase.

  • Best source for sales/offers/store hours.

  • Contains annoying ads. (This last statement could bring the medium’s score down – meaning if it was deemed to have a lot of annoying ads, the medium could have a negative score.)

  • An average score was 100. Anything over 100 was better than average. Anything under 100 was worse than average.

The media that were ranked were: print newspapers, newspaper Web sites, television, magazines, billboards, radio, and the Internet.

On media engagement (all 11 metrics), print newspapers were the most engaging medium – scoring twice the average (210)! Newspaper Web sites scored 134 – above average and higher than the Internet at 58. Both these results intuitively make sense; newspapers in both formats are trusted and embraced by their readers.

Advertising engagement is the key metric. When interacting with the medium, are potential customers open to the ads?

Print newspapers score the highest in ad engagement – almost five times the average! See the full study results. Newspaper Web sites come in second – scoring above average and well above the Internet in general, which scored dead last.  

We know that there are lots of places consumers do not like advertising, but in newspapers they want the ads; they are part of the content!

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