Nearly every day there is more speculation about the future and fate of the newspaper industry, along with recommendations for what the publications need to do to replace lost revenue and remain relevant long term. A lot of the talk revolves around the loss of advertising dollars and the decrease in ad placements, both on page and through inserts. The question is what would actually happen if all preprint advertising went away? What if when you received your Sunday paper all you got was journalism, news, op eds and ROP advertisements? How would that change your shopping habits or how you view the newspaper and its value?
For one group in particular, and this might shock you, it would mean a major change in how they shop. A recent story from the Rochester Institute of Technology took a look at how Millennials, the 18- to 34-age group, utilizes the newspaper, and in particular, newspaper preprints. The study looked at three age groups, Boomers, Generation X and Millennials, and compared their use of newspaper. What you may find surprising is that, according to the study, 91% of Millennials who read the paper use newspaper preprints to guide them in shopping decisions, compared to the more expected results of 92% for Generation X and 94% for Boomers.
An elimination of preprint advertising would force change not just in the advertisers that utilize this medium, but affect other advertising channels as well. Reason being, Millennials in particular use newspaper preprints to push them do more research on products and services advertised, and guide them to offline and online purchases.
Talking about the integration of print and digital is not a new topic for this blog. Mediaspace has put together an eBook on the benefits of integrating print and digital advertising as well as a research report on the benefits of local advertising. These topics might seem self-serving for a company whose bread and butter has been, and continues to be, newspaper and magazine advertising. But as the RIT study shows, these benefits are real.
As more data is available and advertisers continually look for return on investment in all their advertising efforts, the cross-promotion of products and services in print and digital media supports purchases in multiple formats as brand recognition increases across platforms. The key is building a brand familiarity and presence that hits consumers during more than one activity. Advertising in newspapers alone can be effective, but introducing your product or service on the printed page and reinforcing it online allows advertisers to track the media and determine how they work together. Without the ability to use preprints, advertisers lose an opportunity to increase their presence and reach local consumers where they live and in what they’re reading.
Now we all know people receive and read the newspaper for different purposes. Some people receive it simply for the ads, and that’s the only section they pay attention to. Others are all about the content and read it cover to cover for the news and journalism. And a third group are a hybrid of the two, reading the stories or sections that interest them, clipping coupons and researching products or services advertised in the paper. Regardless of which group your consumers fall into, the elimination of preprints would certainly adversely affect advertisers and their efforts.
Luckily that day, if it ever arrives, will not be here anytime soon. In the meantime, it is to your benefit to create campaigns that include multiple media. If you need tips on integrating print and digital or a better understanding of the benefits of reaching local audiences, you can download the content we’ve developed for you now.
Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.