Thursday, February 25, 2010

Newspaper Web sites: Most used and valued sites for consumers

A study released this week demonstrates newspaper Web sites lead all media as the most used and valued sites for consumers seeking credible and trustworthy local content and advertising online.

The study, conducted by comScore for the Newspaper Association of America, found approximately 57 percent of the 3,050 respondents identified local newspaper Web sites as the top online source for local information -- ahead of all other media. That percentage grows for upper income households (63 percent) and for the college educated (60 percent).

The strength of local newspaper Web sites was made clear when respondents to the survey were asked to identify sites they used most often for specific types of local content. Newspaper sites ranked first as a source for local information (29 percent), local sports (27 percent), local entertainment (26 percent) and local classifieds (39 percent), ahead of both local television Web sites and online portals.

Local newspaper Web sites also ranked first among all sources for trustworthiness, credibility and being the most informative place to find local content of all types – including news, information, entertainment, sports and classified advertising. When respondents were asked what sources were most trustworthy or reliable, local newspaper Web sites bested local television for local information (34 vs. 22 percent), for local sports (30 vs. 24 percent), for local entertainment (30 vs. 20 percent) and by 29 points for local classifieds (42 vs. 13 percent).

The survey also found that consumers consider local newspaper Web sites to be the most trusted source of online advertising, with ads that are perceived to be more current, credible and relevant to them.

Forty percent said online advertising is influenced by the type of Web site on which the ad appears. Of those, local newspaper sites ranked first in trustworthiness of advertising. Thirty-six percent selected local newspaper Web sites for trustworthy advertising compared to 23 percent for local television Web sites and 12 percent for online portals. And local newspaper sites were the clear winner across all demographic categories – even among the younger 18 – 34 age group, leading the second-ranked television Web sites (35 vs. 22 percent), and online portals (35 vs. 11 percent).

Seventy-eight percent across all demographic groups rated “more likely to be current” as the top reason advertising on local newspaper Websites are most trustworthy. Credibility and local relevance were also important factors with close to 50 percent of respondents citing these attributes for reasons behind local newspapers advertising trustworthiness.

The comScore survey results follow initial data from “Consumer Insights,” a new study conducted by MORI Research, that indicates newspaper advertising remains the leading advertising medium cited by consumers in planning, shopping and making purchasing decisions. The survey of more than 3,000 adults found that 82 percent of adults said they “took action” as a result of newspaper advertising – from clipping a coupon or making a purchase to visiting a Web site.

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