By Caroline Little
President and CEO
Newspaper Association of America
This is shaping up to be one of the most critical holiday shopping seasons in recent memory. Due to a quirk in the calendar, Thanksgiving arrives less than a month before Christmas. With the economy looking to rebound, this year’s Black Friday has drawn even more attention.
For consumers, Black Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.
For retailers, it’s the day of rock-bottom prices, long lines and the busiest weekend of the year.
And for those of us in the newspaper industry, Black Friday is the reason consumers, advertisers and retailers flock to our Thanksgiving newspaper and newspaper websites to find and publicize the best deals.
The reason is in the numbers, as 63 percent of Americans say newspapers are the ultimate holiday shopping guide, according to Nielsen research. Year after year, newspapers have provided the best local deals, key information, and hot holiday gifts in their Thanksgiving edition. This history has built incredible trust among both consumers and advertisers.
Newspapers continue to offer advertisers an extremely wide audience – 71 percent of Americans read newspaper-generated content. This audience is also heavily engaged. Nielsen data shows that newspaper media have a higher level of engagement than all other media, and print ads drive the highest purchase intent, scoring nearly 10 percent higher than local television, cable television and local music radio.
When we conducted a study on how America shops and spends during last year’s holiday season, we found newspaper print ads drive online shopping and purchases in addition to in-store traffic. Roughly 40 percent of adults searched online, purchased a product, or visited a website as a direct result of a newspaper ad that month.
The studies in 2013 leading up to Black Friday only further confirm this research. Wanderful Media’s recently published data revealed that 67 percent of shoppers research and develop a plan specifically for their Black Friday shopping. And what is their top, go-to source for finding the best deals? Their local newspaper, of course.
The trust factor that newspapers develop with readers each and every day comes through on the most important shopping day of the year. Our readers trust us to provide accurate news, curate the most important stories, and feature credible and important advertisers. With that comes brand recognition, and it’s why consumers turn to local papers as the definitive shopping and sales guide for the holidays.
Retail forecasts suggest that this season will be especially delicate with the late date of Thanksgiving and the lingering effects of the government shutdown. For retailers, the stakes are especially high to reach as many people as possible to ensure a profitable holiday season. For consumers, scoring the best deals, comparison-shipping, and finding that perfect gift are all high priorities.
Newspapers continue to provide a key service to both parties. In this critical shopping season, retailers can reach a massive, engaged and active audience by advertising in newspaper media. And consumers are given a one-stop-shop with all the best holiday sales, products and information.
The weeks leading up to Black Friday are an important time for newspapers to reach out to both retailers and consumers, reminding them that the Thanksgiving paper will be the most visible paper of the entire year and featuring unmatched coupons, deals and savings.
We’re excited to support the efforts of newspapers nationwide with a customized Black Friday program to help NAA members make the most of the fourth quarter. By publishing the ultimate holiday shopping guide, the newspaper industry will be doing its part to ensure this shopping season will be the merriest of all shopping seasons.
Caroline Little is president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America in Arlington, Va.