Last week in a client meeting, someone looked up and said “we’re just going to have to stop using press”.
This client’s conversion rate via press has recently dropped from merely unimpressive to unsustainable and to put it in context, for them online activity now converts 100 times more effectively than press.
You could of course argue that without the awareness raising effect of press activity the online wouldn’t do working so well, but looking at circulation figures for local and regional titles around me, the audience just isn’t there anymore so the target audience won’t have-read-the-paper-to-see-the-ad-that-builds-awareness. I did a bit of digging and the local and regional papers round my way appear to be losing readers at the rate of 10% a year.
So of course advertisers are falling away at even faster levels. One media specialist I spoke to recently said that in their professional opinion, the only category that now gets effective results from newspapers is furniture retailers.
There is still an audience out there that does read papers and according to the Newspaper Marketing Agency, 69% of adults read newspapers every week. It’s just that I strongly suspect that the role of offline newspapers is moving away from ‘news’ and into ‘leisure reading’. Which means that while the future of weekend papers should be rosy (there’s nothing quite like a lazy Sunday morning working your way through the paper), the future of regional and local dallies looks bleak.