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New study reinforces the value of community newspapers

A recently-released study shows the impact that community newspapers continue to have. The study was conducted by Totum Research in January and February of more than 2,000 Canadian adults.

A recently-released study shows the impact that community newspapers continue to have.

The study was conducted by Totum Research in January and February of more than 2,000 Canadian adults. It shows that 88 per cent of Canadians read a newspaper on any platform each week.

Newspaper access is also multi-platform, as one-third of adults (34 per cent) read on all four platforms – print, desktop/laptop, phone and tablet – and every platform is accessed by every demographic to read newspaper content.

“While more adults continue to embrace technology to read newspaper content, six of 10 adults continue to access print editions,” the survey stated.

As for community newspapers, printed community papers are the preferred source for local news and information.

“Local information is the main reason for reading community newspapers, followed by advertising,” the report states.

Local community newspapers remain the favourite source for local news, with 27 per cent of respondents citing the paper. It’s nearly double the 14 per cent shown for television. Daily newspaper was next at 13 per cent, followed by social media (10 per cent) and radio (eight per cent).

Response to advertising in newspapers varies by platform. Printed newspaper ads most effectively drive awareness, store visits and purchases, while digital newspaper ads encourage further research, both online and offline.

The report also showed that local information is the top reason people read their community newspaper. Eighty-nine per cent of print readers and 86 per cent of digital readers are seeking local information.

Newspapers matter because they cover every inch of this country, and are on the ground in communities.

The survey also shows the importance of advertising to readers. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents buy a product or service, 71 per cent visit a store online or in person, 79 per cent become aware of a product, sale or service, 72 per cent go online to find out more information, 60 per cent look for more information online, and 53 per cent refer the ad to someone else.

As for media involvement and trust, on a typical day, Canadians are exposed to thousands of brand ad messages, but exposure does not equal influence. Time spent on the Internet is fragmented.

And while Google and Facebook are dominating ad spending, with 47.7 per cent for Google and 23.9 per cent for Facebook in 2016, social media is not where people want to see ads. Social media is used primarily for communication and photo sharing.

“The optimal campaign is traditional media and digital,” the report states.

Trust is the foundation for engagement and influence in advertising. Fifty-seven per cent of newspaper ads, between print and digital, are trusted, compared to 52 per cent for television ads and 48 per cent for radio advertising.

Meanwhile, four in 10 adults distrust mobile ads, and 38 per cent distrust social network advertising.

Finally, newspaper ads are read and noticed the most. Sixty-six per cent of automotive ads are read in printed papers and 52 per cent are read in digital newspapers. Sixty-two per cent of travel ads are read in newspapers.

“This research examines what drives Canadians to read community newspapers, in both printed and digital platforms,” the report concludes. “The main reason for reading, in both print and digital platforms, continues to be something that can be hard to find anywhere else: local information, in various forms (news, sports, entertainment, events, etc.).”

Community newspaper readers are engaged with display and classified ads, and with flyers and inserts in their papers.

“Community newspaper readers are engaged with advertising and respond to ads with action. Print newspaper ads are effective at driving awareness, store visits and purchases.”

The project was produced with financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.