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Newspapers still most important shopping tool

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John F. Sturm
November 6, 2009

This weekend, discussion in Phoenix will focus on consumer spending habits, the economy, advertising “ROI” and techniques for ensuring consumer “engagement,” as America’s top marketers convene for the 2009 Annual Conference of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).


While debate and chatter about viral marketing, mobile trends, digital ad platforms and online display advertising might steal the spotlight, some of the most important marketing tools arrive on millions of Americans’ doorsteps every morning.


Included among the marketers thronging to Phoenix are many valued advertising clients of local newspapers around the country—marketers who understand the power of newspaper advertising to drives sales and influence buying decisions. Not only do newspapers provide the most credible source of local news and information, they also are the leading advertising medium cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing decisions, as proven by a recent MORI Research study that found:


--Nearly six in 10 adults (59 percent) identify newspapers as the medium they use to help plan shopping or make purchase decisions.


--82 percent of those surveyed said they “took action” as a result of newspaper advertising, including:


Clipping a coupon (61 percent);


Buying something (50 percent);


Visiting Web sites to learn more (33 percent);


Trying something for the first time (27 percent).


--73 percent of adults regularly or occasionally read newspaper inserts.


Whether in traditional print ads, preprints or special coupon inserts, newspaper readers have continued to recognize the medium’s advertising as an essential shopping tool. When you combine these strong engagement numbers with the fact that more than 100 million adults read printed newspapers on an average weekday (more than 115 million on Sundays), you can understand the value newspapers deliver to advertisers.


Consumers’ ongoing fascination with newspapers does not stop with print. Our medium continues to reinvent itself, with wildly popular Web sites, mobile products, iPhone applications, user-generated content, youth publications and increased lifestyle coverage that all serve to grow readership.


In fact, newspaper Web sites attracted more than 74 million monthly unique visitors on average in the third quarter of 2009, more than one-third (38 percent) of all Internet users, according to Nielsen Online. Newspaper Web site visitors generated more than 3.5 billion page views during the quarter, spending 2.7 billion minutes browsing the sites during nearly 597 million total sessions.


During this exciting weekend in Phoenix, all of us in the newspaper business want to thank ANA’s participants and attendees for the commitment that their respective companies have continued to show to newspapers and their readers—those millions of Americans who use newspapers and newspaper advertising as their main source of information to guide their purchasing decisions.


John F. Sturm is president and chief executive officer of the Newspaper Association of America, 4401 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203-1867.

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