Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, February 29, 2008

Newspaper Website Audience Segmentation

Scarborough Research released the results of a special analysis of newspaper website audience. The market study included a trend of newspaper website audiences among the top 50 U.S. local markets, as well as interviews with newspaper executives about their websites.

Scarborough found that newspaper website audience is growing and is compensating for some of the declines in print readership. The special analysis, which examined data collected August 2004 - March 2007 for 88 newspapers, found that newspaper website audience coverage has grown 14 percent -- from 6.4 percent for the 12 months ending September 2005, to 7.3 percent for the 12 months ending March 2007.

Overall, the increase in website audience is mitigating print audience losses by 28 percent.

Scarborough interviewed select newspaper executives about their websites, and found several common themes for website success: a commitment to localism, developing unique and interactive content, and relentless cross-promotion.

Local content is the newspaper's franchise, in print and online. This analysis shows that successful web sites are doing a good job of leveraging local content and attracting online readers with blogs, videos, podcasts, user generated content and other tools that enrich the online experience.

Relentless promotion is another attribute of successful newspaper web sites. These appear to be the ingredients that help propel online audience growth.

Given the duplication between website and newspaper readers, advertisers can also leverage the beneficial impact increased website audience has on impressions and frequency in media plans.

Seventy percent of newspaper website visitors also read the printed publication. This underscores the important cross-promotional opportunities newspapers now enjoy.

Newspapers need to get the story out about the value of their website readers to agencies and marketers, especially as the Internet's role in the marketing mix continues to grow. Brands have new cross-promotional opportunities, as people are interacting with newspapers in multiple ways: reading the printed publication, visiting the website, and using other products like free dailies or niche publications.

The Scarborough analysis also found that newspaper websites are delivering younger, more elusive audiences, particularly in the coveted 18-34 year old demographic. Website exclusive readership among adults ages 18-34 increased 21 percent (from 2.4 for the 12 months ending September 2005 to 2.9 percent for the 12 months ending March 2007). Website exclusive readers are those adults who visited the newspaper website but did not read the print edition during the past week.

Newspaper website readers are also increasingly wealthy and educated. The percentage of exclusive website readership among adults with annual household incomes of $75k increased 33 percent (from 2.4 percent for the 12 months ending September 2005 to 3.2 percent for the 12 months ending March 2007).

Exclusive website readership among adults with a with college degree or greater increased by 16 percent (from 3.1 percent for the 12 months ending September 2005 to 3.6 percent for the 12 months ending March 2007).