Similar to the findings about editorial contents, local newspapers were also the primary source of information for small-town residents to makepurchasing decisions.
- A combined 63 percent of residents either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that they would often read newspaper advertising inserts to help them make purchasing decisions
- A combined 61 percent of residents either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that they looked for or sought out newspaper ads for the latest offerings and sales.
Small-town residents showed a strong preference for ads on local newspapers to those on other media.
- A combined 73 percent of residents either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that “if I had a choice, I’d rather look through the ads in the newspaper than watch advertisements on TV”
- A combined 72 percent of residents either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that “if I had a choice, I’d rather look through the ads in the newspaper than view advertisements on the Internet”
These findings suggest that residents in small towns or cities do read advertisements in local newspapers. For example, almost half of adults (48%) either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed that “there are some days when I read the newspaper as much as for the ads as for the content.”
On a 7-point scale with “1” being “never” and “7” being “very often,” respondents were asked to indicate how often they would read various advertisements in their local newspapers. The results show that 54% either “very often” or “often” read grocery and supermarket ads; 53% classified ads; 42% hardware store ads such as Home Depot’, Lowe’s, ACE, or True Value; and 41% read discount store ads.
The survey shows that local governments should run public notice ads on local newspapers.
Seventy-five percent of respondents thought governments should publish public notice ads in local newspapers, suggesting that local newspapers could be an effective medium for increasing awareness of public notices among residents in small towns or cities. This finding provides good support for publishers who continue to seek revenues from their print products.
The 2010 Community Newspaper Readership Study was administered by the Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR) of The Reynolds Journalism Institute and Missouri’s School of Journalism on behalf of the National Newspaper Association (NNA) in August and October 2010. Altogether, 670 telephone interviews were completed with adults aged 18 or older that lived in small communities where the local newspaper’s circulation was 8,000 or less in the United States. Therefore, the 2010 study focused more on non-daily newspaper readers than on daily readers. Eighty-six percent of the NNA membership are non-daily newspapers. In addition, cell phone number frame was included in the sample to adequately reflect the fact that more people are using cell phones for their daily communication in today’s new media environment. Of the 670 people surveyed, 51% were reached via cell phone numbers, and 49% through landline numbers; 34 percent of the sample were “cell phone only” cohort as defined by The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) in its 2008 and 2010 studies.