Newspaper Inserts Drive Consumers to Action


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Executive Summary

Recent independent research reveals that newspaper inserts continued to drive traffic for retailers this past holiday shopping season.

Two-thirds of newspaper readers either always or regularly look at inserts, according to Coda Ventures’ Triad research, a Nashville-based research firm specializing newspaper research. Coda Ventures recently reported that fewer than nine percent of newspapers readers state that they “seldom or never” look at inserts.(1)

And, most important to advertisers, newspaper inserts drive action. Nine out of ten newspaper readers report that they take one or more of a broad range of specific actions after reading or looking at inserts.

Other recent research by Research and Analysis of Media (RAM), an international media research company, confirms the crucial role newspaper inserts play in consumer marketing.(2) RAM data shows that nearly nine in 10 of media consumers use newspaper inserts. This is much higher than the usage of direct mailers.

Readers believe they find the best deals in newspapers. Sixty-five percent believe the best deals on products can be found in newspaper inserts.(1) Only 39 percent believe direct mail deliver the best deals. In a fragmented media landscape, newspapers remain an advertising medium with broad audience and reach.

Over many years, a broad range of research has confirmed the trustworthiness and impact of newspaper advertising, including preprints and free-standing inserts (FSIs).

The enduring effectiveness of newspaper inserts also shows up with the continued growth in FSI print coupons. Kantar Media, a global media intelligence firm, documented that while there were fewer pages distributed this past year, there are more coupons per page containing higher value offers. According to Kantar, print coupons still remain a critical promotional tool.(3) Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) of all readers who use inserts clip and save coupons.(2)

In the past year, new research provided greater clarity on just how actionable newspaper preprint advertising is — and how its impact remains strong, even as digital alternatives to sales circulars have emerged.

For advertisers, “When their boss comes to them with what the difference is in different channels and what’s prompting customers to take action, it’s a much more serious question these days,” says Tom Robinson, chief marketing officer of Coda Ventures. “The overall levels of engagement, when you look at the normative data, speak very highly for newspapers as a medium.”

New Findings on Effectiveness

These studies by Coda/Triad and RAM confirm the effectiveness of newspaper preprint advertising by measuring the actions consumers take.

“A lot of these actions have gone unmeasured,” explains Robinson. “Making the cash register ring is important, but newspapers work in a lot of different ways, and there are actions people have taken they haven’t gotten credit for in the past.”

RAM, which evaluates advertising across multiple channels, has measured the effectiveness of more than 24,000 advertisements since 2006. Of those, approximately 3,000 were newspaper inserts, according to Tanya Holloran, RAM’s U.S. client development manager. To better understand the impact of preprint advertising, RAM conducted a broad-based study of newspaper inserts in late 2015, surveying more than 15,100 readers of newspapers published by 33 U.S. media companies.

Similarly, Coda Ventures launched the Triad Newspaper Ad Effectiveness Service, its syndicated advertising research product, in July 2015. Based on the top 30 U.S. daily newspaper markets, Triad initially focused on run-of-print advertising, but it commissioned a research study in the fall to explore consumer actions based on preprint advertising in more detail, surveying more than 3,600 newspaper readers nationwide.

Click here to download the full report with the findings of the two research studies and additional research they conducted.

1. Coda/Triad, Newspaper Insert Study, October 2015.
2. Research and Analysis of Media (RAM) Inserts Study, November 2015.
3. Kantar Media, “Kantar Media Reports Dollar Value Of Free Standing Insert (FSI) Coupons Offered In 2015 Increased 3.7 Percent To $515 Billion,” 2015.
4. MediaWorks/Radius Global Market Research, The Impact of Sunday Select, May 2015.
5. Coda/Triad, The Newspaper Generation Report, 2015
6. NAA, How America Shops and Spends, 2014.


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