Ads24, the national advertising sales division of Media24 newspapers and digital properties, today released the results of ground-breaking research into the readership of community newspapers.
The research was commissioned last year to better understand shifts in readership, demographics and spend patterns that might have occurred since the release of Compass24 2008.
Linda Gibson, Ads24’s CEO, says the initiative was prompted by a widespread advertising industry perception that alternative long-term growth mediums need to be identified in order to develop effective marketing strategies for the years ahead.
“Given that societies are becoming more community focused, community newspapers are also becoming a differently relevant medium to consider for advertising, as community centricity implies a different attraction to community newspaper titles.”
But in order to optimise that opportunity, Gibson maintains that media planning for community papers needs to be carefully structured and supported by tools similar to those employed for mainstream papers.
Ideally, she maintains, research like Compass24 and the well-respected ROOTS should be available in AMPS so that the data is capable of being updated with the same frequency as mainstream newspapers. However, the resultant cost implications could create difficulties. “Be that as it may, we are committed to delivering updates as often as we can afford.”
She emphasises: “It has been proven time and again that return on investment for papers impact sales directly. For community papers the data is outdated and did not include digital usage, for example. This release will give clients and planners current information on reader demographics and media usage. It builds on the foundations we laid with the Compass24 data released in 2008.”
She is confident that Compass24 2012 will provide reliable and current reach figures for community papers; statistics embedded in a broader consumption context.
“It’s a context that will enable more informed planning for advertisers, making it less of an intuitive process than is the case at present. The ultimate aim is to create a sophisticated, scientific tool to support and justify community newspaper advertising investment.
Having established the basics, Gibson emphasises that any planning tool is only as valuable as the integrity of its content.
“This implies the correct methodology – the scientific and correct approach to sample design and immaculate data collection embedded in a stringent quality control process.”
For the onerous task of meeting such strict criteria, Ads24 awarded the contract to AskAfrika after a thorough pitch process.
A total of 14 409 nationally representative community interviews were conducted from August to November 2011, covering 70 community newspaper titles.
A principal finding is that community papers have a unique space in the lives of their readers, being “perfectly positioned” for changing South African trends (both brands and service). Community papers are the “perfect platform” for brands to showcase their commitment to their customers
Compass24 will launch to the trade in February 2012 and available on Telmar.
The total readership of the researched titles comes in at 4, 763, 195 for all regions