Follow your readers: single-source, cross-platform planning tool adds insight


Integrated newspaper planning and selling is on everyone’s mind, and for good reason. It makes sense to use all of your brand’s channels to reach your readers wherever and whenever they are reading your newspaper. But knowing how readers access the different channels is the key to providing timely, appropriate content and advertising messages.

In Canada, NADbank has just released the first single-source, cross-platform planning tool. This new software programme demonstrates how Canadians actually read their newspapers, in print and at the Web site. We knew what the reach and duplication was over the week, but in 2010 we added questions about daily readership at the Web site. The new reach curves for print and Web site readership provide us with new insights about a reader’s behaviour.

Readers migrate between print and online throughout the week:

  • 6% read only online, and 23% print and Web site editions.

  • 81% of online readers read a printed edition.

  • 25% of print readers read at the Web site.

On an average day, readers are more likely to choose between print and the Web site; there is far less duplication across channels each day than over the week.

  • 9% read only at the Web site, and 11% both print and online.

  • 55% who read at the Web site also read a printed edition.

  • 12% of print readers went to a newspaper Web site.

Web site readership on a daily basis substantially augments print readership for a number of publications. This daily Web site readership is not included in the traditional reach/frequency programmes and represents readers “left on the table,” understating readership for that publication and its advertisers.

On the other hand, a number of publications have little Web site readership; the free dailies are consumed primarily as print products. The pattern by newspaper format is fairly consistent across markets. The national newspapers and the broadsheets have the highest percentage of their readers reading at the Web site on an average day and over the week.

It is also important to know who is reading where. It is no surprise that readership by channel varies by target group. Having this information tells newspapers how best to reach different segments of their readership and advertisers how best to distribute their ads across platforms.

Online readers tend to be well-educated, white collar, 25- to 64-year-old males. This is more true on the average day as Web site readership at the Web site grows over the week. Providing digital content to meet their needs and lifestyles will enhance the value of the printed newspaper and brand for these readers.

Single-source data is essential for a clear understanding of the new daily newspaper business model. Print remains the foundation of the medium but digital editions accessed through a variety of e-devices are expanding and solidifying newspapers' position in the media landscape. Now the industry needs new software tools to be developed and employed to demonstrate this strength to advertisers. Newspapers have the readers; the research and software tools demonstrate how to monetise them!

The new survey questions and planning tool provide valuable insight into the duplication across platforms and the exclusive reach for each channel. Current media-mix models are based on random duplication and do not take into account that readers of the print editions have an affinity for the “brand” and therefore are more likely to seek that newspaper out in a digital format when it is not available to them in print.

This new tool is only a start: the reach/frequency model needs updating, and a broader set of readership questions need to be asked. NADbank is developing new questions about apps and a variety of e-devices while working with software suppliers to capitalise on the new information so newspapers and advertisers can follow their readers.

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