What was the idea behind writing this book?
When I joined the team at the Alliance a year ago, I was tasked with diving deep into understanding the News Media Audience and gathering data to help change the narrative around the news audience among our industry, advertisers, and the general public. We knew that other groups had created tools of this kind, and we wanted to gather facts from across the spectrum of consumer behavior, to help the industry reshape how it positions this vital audience.
What are some of the biggest takeaways from the research for newspapers?
The book highlights eight factors of News Media’s “Unique Selling Proposition,” which include Trusted Local Journalism, Advertising Effectiveness, and Reach. On the trust item, we found that consumers trust print news nearly twice as much as they trust information found in social media. On the topic of advertising effectiveness, we saw that 46% of Americans surveyed said they prefer to receive coupons in their print newspaper. And we have a lot of data about audience reach in the book, but in particular we saw that in many markets, news media have a better audience penetration than broadcast TV, cable TV, or radio.
One surprising thing you learned while writing this book:
Just how valuable the news media audience actually can be for advertisers – US news readers have a higher household income, education level, and home value than the average American. The audience is also particularly cause-driven, as news media consumers are nearly 25% more likely than the average US adult to donate to charitable causes.
Advice for advertising people on how to use data if they are new to it?
There’s a ton of data available on the news audience – sometimes it can feel like there’s too much to sift through. My recommendation is always to start with your end goal – what story are you trying to tell to a potential advertiser, and why? Then ask how can data provide a shape to that story. I’m not a believer in data for its own sake, it’s there to help you accomplish a goal by making something abstract become more concrete.