mediaXchange 2017: Groundbreaking ROI Research

There isn’t a human (or publisher) that doesn’t want to save a buck, which is why over $1 billion was invested in preprints last year. MediaXchange has a long and storied tradition of providing publishers with the most important and up to date research. This year was no different, as Howard L. Griffin, the Senior Vice President of USA TODAY Network, National Sales, and Dr. Jef Richards, Chairman of Ads and PR Department at Michigan State University presented groundbreaking findings on newspaper advertising return on investment.

Griffin said that 86 percent of local media users use inserts, and 76 percent of them prefer those inserts to be in newspapers. Of those people, 64 percent of them prefer the inserts to be some sort of shopping deal.

“[Newspapers] are making cash registers ring – what a novel idea in this day and age,” he said.

Still, what is the ROI of preprints? How do advertisers justify these sales?

“We are all being challenged by these ROI metrics that we all hear about and learn about,” Griffin said. Advertisers must justify their budget split between print and digital ad spend, but print certainly is still an effective choice. “There are still advertising campaigns today where they were built to have a significant and dominate part in print.”

Dr. Richards took to the podium to discuss his new study on preprint ROI conducted in the Lansing, Mich. area.

“We wanted to get a little closer to what’s actually happening out there,” he said. “Surveys are great, but one of the problems with surveys, if you ask someone what they did a month ago, they’re not likely to remember.”

The conducted study went as such: First, 118 subjects were collected, 58 were non subscribers to local newspaper, 60 were subscribers. Then, the subscribers were deprived from papers for 2 weeks, and non subscribers got free subscription for 2 weeks. The following two weeks, the situation was reversed. The question: does owning a newspaper affect total spending?

“Clearly subscribers, when receiving newspapers, are spending less money,” Richards said. “That suggests they’re saving money by reading the paper.” Non-subscribers were spending more when receiving the paper, finding items they didn’t realize were out there.

The research also found that people tended to save coupons more often when they subscribed to a newspaper, and Sunday was the day where most people saved the coupons they received.

The goal of the study is to eventually build a model, where you can punch in variables to learn expect ROI. Richards hopes to study the Tulsa and Atlanta markets next.


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