THE DIGITAL PUBLISHING BLOG

The value of surveys in the digital transformation of newspaper readers

Posted by Martin Rubæk on 01/04/15 13:53

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From March 20 to 25, Visiolab conducted an anonymous user survey, in which more than 4,000 respondents answered questions about their e-paper reading habits and news consumption in general. The survey was conducted on two weekdays and two weekend days, to reach as broad a user group as possible.

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The survey leads up to the “European User Survey Benchmark” report in which data from a selection of media houses from a number of European countries will be compared and measured.

In a survey, we want to impose upon the reader as little as possible, and still obtain the information that we need. Therefore, our survey is available everywhere an e-paper can be read, on tablets, smartphones and PCs. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and both the response rate and the completion rate are through the roof! In our last survey, the average click-rate of interstitials was above 25%, and the completion rate was as high as 82%. 

Surveys are an incredibly useful way to gain insights into the end user experience. In this blog post, we encouraged you to measure, measure, measure! This week we encourage you to ask, ask, ask!

When the data from business intelligence server-based tracking and from surveys are combined, the information can be almost invaluable for the issuer. If the user is given a convenient way to express themselves, it is possible to learn what to emphasize and what to change in the product, or in this case the e-paper. What features are liked or disliked? What are the users expecting from the e-paper? Thereby you gain a deeper understanding of your consumers, and valuable insights into both the commercial and editorial preferences of your readers. All this information is vital for developing and maintaining a digital media strategy.

Another great advantage of conducting surveys is the engagement of the users. When we ask their opinion, they will know that they are important to our business, and this in turn will result in a high degree of brand loyalty – it’s nice to be important! 

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Key findings from a former survey

In our experience, a media house is doing really well if its e-paper has 10% of the printed newspaper’s circulation. From a survey recently conducted for six representative newspapers in Norway and Denmark, we found that one e-paper had managed to reach a whopping 14.6% of the printed newspaper’s circulation. Another e-paper from the same survey only had 3.1% of the printed newspaper’s circulation. This is evidence that there is a vast difference between how media houses are able to utilize their digital media strategy, which in turn shows the need for further transformation in this industry.

We also found that the interstitial format is the most effective way of achieving a high click-through rate (or CTR) for advertisements. The CTR of an ad will always be highly dependent on the content of the ad, but when comparing different formats of ads with the same content, interstitials come out on top. In the above-mentioned survey, which was introduced to the reader via an interstitial, one e-paper saw a CTR of almost 26%. The lowest scoring e-paper had a CTR of 9.4%, which is still an incredible result! 

What we can draw from these results is that readers are eager to engage with their news provider. For Norway, in particular, survey participants had a very high completion rate, as well as high click rates. This could be an indication that Norwegian readers are slightly more mature to the use of interstitials and other new digital ad formats, than other countries’ media consumers.

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