Surveys show preference for print media

Several recent surveys and reports substantiate the fact that print is both a highly successful choice for advertisers as well as a preferred marketing media for consumers. Interestingly, according to these studies, even among young people and the affluent—where one might expect a higher rate of loyalty to electronic and social media alternatives—print is still a favored source of offers, promotions, information and news.

Millennial shoppers

On September 11, Valassis—a leader in intelligent media delivery and printed coupon advertising—announced the results of its Sixth Annual RedPlum Purse String Survey of over 5,000 shoppers taken in June and July of this year. The results provided insights into the shopping behavior of millennials: the generation of young people born between 1982 and 2004.

The Purse String Survey showed that the millennial generation relies heavily on newspaper advertising print coupons and offers in the same way that all other age groups and income levels do. The top print sources for the millennials are:

  • 33 percent from the mail
  • 21 percent from retail circulars
  • 20 percent from coupon books

While the younger generation is, of course, very active with digital advertising, they are getting their promotions to a larger degree from these sources than the rest of the population. But according to Lisa Reynolds, Valassis VP of Consumer Engagement, “The RedPlum Purse String Survey results are somewhat counter intuitive from what you might expect based on what we know about millennials … While they are heavy digital users, this group also embraces tried and true methods for savings, as much as any other age group. Promotion sensitive, they are a true testament to the use of savings from both print and digital sources.”

Millennials Share Coupons

When it comes to sharing promotions and deals with others, millennials are the most active:

  • 90% of millennials share deals with others
  • 45% of millennials share deals through social media, compared to 29% among everyone
  • 30% of millennials share deals through text, compared to 19% among everyone
  • 71% of millennials share deals through word of mouth, compared to 56% among everyone
  • 45% of millennials share or send physical coupons compared with 42% among everyone

Affluent readers

On September 19, the 2013 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA reported that affluent adults (households with and annual income of $100,000 or more) “continue to be enthusiastic consumers of traditional media,” even as their use of digital media continues to grow sharply.

The study projected that there are 62.5 million affluent adults in the US, which is up more than 6% over the past two year and represents approximately 20% of the total US population.

Affluent Adults Read Print MediaThe Ipsos survey found that 81% of affluent adults regularly read at least one of the 142 measured and reported print publications (135 magazines and 7 national newspapers).

The survey results on print readership is in contrast to the fact that affluent adults are also increasing the amount of time that they spend online each week. And they are increasing their use of smartphones, tablets and downloads of digital newspapers and magazines.

Direct mail vs. email marketing

An analysis of all Internet traffic in 2012 published by Pingdom reported that there were 144 billion email messages sent each day and that 68.8% of this was spam. Additionally, the data showed that 61% of all email was considered nonessential. Another report by HubSpot showed that three quarters of all email remains unopened and “click through” rates are below 5%.

This is in contrast to information published by the USPS in the Household Diary Study. This data from 2011 showed that the advertising mail represented 61% of all household mail or 85.1 billion pieces of print advertising entering homes in the US.

The survey showed that 78% of households either read or scan their advertising mail and only 21% say that they do not usually read their advertising mail. The USPS diary results also showed that 62% of households say they read or scan catalogs received in the home, with 13% setting them aside for later reading and only 17% discarding them without reading.

Additionally, the survey showed that households with Internet access receive more advertising mail than those without access.

Challenges to print

There continues to be a steady push by advertisers and marketers to move the behavior of the consumer away from print media to online alternatives, primarily because the cost of delivery is far lower.

A campaign recently launched by the CVS drugstore chain called “What’s your deal?” utilizes the integration of print, TV, mobile and social media channels to promote personalized offers based on previous consumer buying. The campaign offers customers who belong to the CVS ExtraCare loyalty program a personalized version of the weekly print circulars distributed through newspapers and in stores to an estimated 45 million people.

Users of the program will be able to build digital shopping lists that can be personalized based on the CVS location where they shop including the layout of the store and where they can find each product on the shelf.

According to a representative of the agency that developed the “What’s your deal?” program, “We’re trying to get people to change their behavior by going online for a much more personalized experience” rather than checking weekly circulars. “The print circular is going to be around for a while, but eventually it’s going to go away,” he added. “We have to prepare for the future.”

In the meantime, the above surveys on consumer and household behavior show that print media continues to be a preferred media for advertising, offers, information and news among the population. They also show that where print is integrated with digital and social media campaigns, its value in increased.

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