NNA survey: Community newspapers effective medium for grocery ads

July 3, 2013

COLUMBIA, MO—Readers of local newspapers in 2012 were asked about how often they read advertisements in local newspapers. The questions included grocery and supermarket, department stores, hardware stores, classified ads, public notice ads, etc.

The survey was conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute for the National Newspaper Association.

When asked how often they read grocery and supermarket ads or ad inserts in their local newspaper, a combined 62 percent of readers either “often” or “very often” read the ads. This finding was consistent with those reported in 2010 and 2011, showing that community newspapers continue to be an effective medium for grocery and supermarket ads.

Readership of department store ads in 2012 was higher than in 2010 and 2011.

The majority of survey respondents said that newspaper-advertising inserts helped them make better purchasing decisions.

More than three-fourths, 76 percent, of readers agreed that newspaper advertising inserts help them make better purchasing decisions. To go along with this, an overwhelming majority of community newspaper readers, 80 percent, in small towns and cities preferred ads in newspapers to direct mail.

And compared to advertisements on the Internet, local residents who read community newspapers preferred ads in the newspapers, as 81 percent either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that they would rather look through newspaper ads than view them on the Internet. This preference is consistent with the previous findings in 2009 and 2011.

To understand the value of print newspapers, the Internet, radio, and advertising mail in purchasing decision making, the survey asked respondents to indicate the frequency of their use of these sources.

The survey asked how often readers used the Internet when making purchasing decisions. Between 2009 and 2012, responses to use of the Internet in purchasing decisions were consistent, at 29 percent (2012) to 40 percent (2010) using it either “often” or “very often,” and 40 percent (2010) to 50 percent (2012) either “rarely” or “never.”

Consistent with this, the survey showed that advertising mail also was not effective in helping them make purchasing decisions, as a combined 13 percent of respondents either “often” or “very often” used it. Radio showed even smaller numbers with only a combined 6 percent of respondents either “often” or “very often” using it.

When asked how influential are newspaper ads are in helping one make purchasing decisions, a combined 35 percent of local newspaper readers thought newspaper ads were either “very” or “somewhat” influential in helping them make purchasing decisions. This finding is consistent with those reported in the previous years.

Much of this advertising information was put into downloadable sales brochures that NNA members could use to help improve their ad sales to local retailers. The members-only resource material is available at nnaweb.org under the Resources navigation tab.

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