Publishers quick to use new engagement data

Publishers have been quick to utilise data from a new engagement metric launched by emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) this week that measures engagement across a range of newspapers and magazines for the first time.

The engagement metric – a supplementary tool for subscribers to the emma audience insights survey that launched last year – will provide publishers, advertisers and media agencies with a sophisticated and nuanced picture of how printed publications engage specific audiences.

The metric, created by Ipsos MediaCT for The Readership Works, has been under development for three years and follows the reader from point of purchase through to subsequent actions.

Data for the project was collected from detailed interviews with more than 20,000 people, a sample size larger than other stand-alone audience metrics in Australia. It currently categorises reader-specific data through the grouping of respondents into more than 50 demographic and buyer-graphic variables, with several more to be added in the future.

This allows publishers, agencies and advertisers to not only seek information on how various newspapers, NIMs and magazines engage readers generally, but how they engage a specific type of reader, adjusting these demographic categories by variables like age, location, gender, marital status and working status.

New data reveals reader interaction

The release of the engagement survey’s data gave publishers and agencies a first look at the performance of various titles against several specific measurements.

Initial results from the engagement study, available to all emma subscribers, show how specific titles scale against measurements in five different categories, or axes of engagement: source of copy, loyalty to publication, motivation to purchase, connection to brand and the action of the consumer post-read.

Major newspaper publishers have published figures showing how the metric reflected upon their mastheads. Among national publications The Australian Financial Review scored the highest EQ measurement for the categories discover, inform, enrich, inspire, consider, seek and share, while The Australian outperformed the AFR in the categories escape, excite, entertain, reward and act.

Data for Australian magazines showed that on average 95 per cent of readers claimed to use magazines to discover new information about things that interest them. Eighty seven per cent of readers said that they saw products in magazines that they had a desire to purchase and almost three quarters of readers felt inspired by something they read in a magazine.

For the Monday-Friday major newspapers The Courier-Mail received the highest EQ score for its ability to discover and inform, the Herald Sun for escape and entertain, The Advertiser for excite, reward and seek, The Age for enrich and share, and The Sydney Morning Herald for inspire, act and consider.

Fairfax Media’s Australian Publishing Media managing director Allen Williams said the deep engagement newspapers provided to readers was “a powerful attribute of our medium and now for the first time we have the best research available to quantify that unique relationship”.

“The engagement metric allows us to move the conversation beyond just readership and circulation into more meaningful territory with advertisers.

“It has confirmed that different newspapers connect in different ways and the behaviour and therefore engagement of our audience during the week is different to the weekend and requires a tailored approach to engage at the highest possible level.”

The building of an engagement measurement

The Readership Works general manager Mal Dale said the engagement tool is the largest of its kind in terms of scope and ambition.

Mr Dale said the opportunity for the engagement metric was identified in 2011 during consultation on the specifications of emma with magazine publishers, media agencies and advertisers. “Each medium can and does make a case for its engagement and impact, but that which is unique to print was being overlooked,” he said.

“It’s universally accepted by publishers, advertisers and media buyers alike, that there is a special relationship between print publications and readers that is unique to that medium, and this needed to be quantified.

“Typically a newspaper or a magazine is a medium of choice; you go out to a newsstand and buy it and you engage with it one-to-one.”

Data from the engagement metric is accessed through an online application, which has been designed so that emma subscribers are able to make highly-specific data inquiries, which provide them with the relevant information quickly and easily.

Mr Dale said that the central purpose to and logic behind the ‘five axes’ framework, “is to cover the reader journey from the actual exposure to the publication through to any action that occurs as a consequence of it”.

The building of the metric from its initial conception to its launch this week has involved the work of hundreds – statisticians, research and insights experts, software designers, as well as the people that wrote and conducted the questionnaire with Australian consumers. It has also been audited and reviewed by independent consultants.

“This is a multi-million dollar investment that we’re talking about here, so from an industry point of view we think this is a tremendously confident step to take,” said Mr Dale.

Adam Hodgson, the research and operations director for Ipsos MediaCT, said that initial feedback from publishers and agencies has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Marketing and sales teams at publishers are excited about it and the agency people that we’ve shown it to so far have been very supportive. It’s something for which they have been asking for a while now,” he said.

“This type and depth of information has not been available before. Our approach is more consistent and the sample size far more substantial than any other engagement metric around the world”.

Motivation by day of publication

Motivation for newspaper reading reflects the contours of the week

  • During the week, readers are driven to pick up newspapers to keep Informed with news and events, and to Discover different points of view. Readers trust them to provide the information they need to stay in touch and ahead of the game. They also cater to the need to Escape, but not to the same degree as weekend papers. During the week, newspapers can provide personal time out time out from a busy life.
  • On Sundays, while newspapers continue to Inform and aid Discovery, the emphasis of reader motivation shifts to Excitement and a sense of Escapism. For many, reading the paper over a coffee is a Sunday ritual they that is deeply ingrained.
  • Saturday newspapers are more evenly balanced across these motivations, not surprising given their range of content. They provide analysis on the events of the week, sections that provide both utility (such as property) and others that provide escapism (Travel).

For more news from The Newspaper Works, click here.

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