MEDIA business owners, marketers and advertising placement strategists need access to credible research data about media usage and behaviour because previously free third party data is becoming more difficult to access.
This data is used to plan and place effective media campaigns to reach targeted consumers cost-efficiently, according to the Publisher Research Council (PRC) chief executive Josephine Buys.
Media stakeholders increasingly need to work together to produce their own proprietary research studies that can be used for media placement, she said.
The PRC is a non-profit organisation funded by the four major media groups Arena, Caxton, Independent and Media24 as its primary stakeholders. The organisation produces research on readership audience trends and markets, such as the annual Publisher Audience Measurement Survey (Pams), which acts as a primary readership currency for advertising strategies.
Buys says in an interview with Business Report that trustworthy, independent first party primary readership research generated by advertisers and media businesses collectively is the most efficient way of providing credible data for advertising decision making.
“While brands collect research data for their own use, the creation, interpretation and interrogation of large, reliable studies across the whole South African population is crucial for the establishment of a currency that can be used by all,” she said.
With an increase in online tools and easier access to readership and other media research currencies provided by organisations such as the PRC, brand owners and marketers today had a choice to use and interpret the data themselves for advertising placement strategies, or to use advertising media agencies to guide them on the best use of their advertising investment.
Buys said even though traditional print readership (and advertising spend) suffered due to last year’s hard lockdown, with tactile print readers also accessing written stories via digital means, people who read represent the top end of consumers irrespective of whether they read online or in print.
“Worldwide media research shows that marketing and advertising campaigns targeted at readers reach a highly desirable consumer segment,” she said.
Buys said a key determinant of media credibility lay in the media brands themselves.
“Individual publications that create and publish credible, trustworthy, relevant, informative and entertaining news and editorial feature content thrive, whether in print or online in digital formats, because readers trust these kinds of media brands,” she said.
“This credibility applies to advertising that appears within these publications too, whether delivered and read in print or via digital means or, indeed, both,” she said.
With the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation online, reliable media brands were trusted by readers and could thus be trusted by advertisers too, she said.
The PRC provides a simplified view of a complex readership world during lockdown via its Lockdown Adspend and Audience Tracker, which offers succinct monthly reports on adspend and audience information during Covid-19, allowing users to identify category shifts, audience changes and gain understanding of how adspend is recovering at an individual media channel level.
Buys said lately, this tracker had indicated that there was a tapering off of online news readership after the initial surge during hard lockdowns, possibly due to news fatigue.
But online readers were beginning to access leisure content again, while trusted news publishers had also seen an uptick in overall subscribers, proving that readers were still reading, while some were simply migrating online.
“In general readers are now more willing to pay for online subscriptions to dependable media brands. For media organisations reliant on readership audiences, it is thus critical to convert traditional paid audiences to digital or hybrid subscribers, and to offer access to these reading audiences to advertisers, whether in print or on digital,” she said.