For a couple of years, I’ve been telling anybody who would listen that the correct measurement for local audience reach on a newspaper web site was percentage of daily unique visitors from the paper’s DMA.
More importantly, that the “visited in the past 30 days” metric, which the industry has been using for a couple of years, was meaningless.
In it’s latest integrated newspaper audience study, Scarobourgh takes a step in my direction — it is now measuring DMA audience based on “past seven days visit.” That’s a hell of a lot better than 30 days reach.
So of the top 25 markets, who has the best local online reach?
- WashingtonPost.com, 20 percent
- SignOnSanDiego.com, 16 percent
- AJC.com, 15 percent
- Boston.com, 14 percent
- Azcentral.com, 14 percent
No surprises in the top 5. They’ve long been among the leaders in local audience reach, because they’ve been the longest among big metros at making that a priority. To reach a local audience, you’ve got to be local, think local, act local — and you’ve got to do a heck of a lot of local marketing.
LATimes.com and tampabay.com are two sites that stand out as particularly lagging — about 4 percent for each.
Here’s a link to another version of the report with more markets covered. Some of the numbers vary by a percentage point from the link up above. I imagine that’s a rounding issue since for my top five above, I added two percentage columns together (exclusive online and duplicated online).
The first link I saw to this study was from Robb Montgomery, who notes the finding that a newspaper.com generally reaches more young people than you might imagine.
What jumped out at me was how much of TBO.com’s audience is online-exclusive. The report says 15 percent of TBO’s local audience are online-exclusive users. That’s significantly more than most sites surveyed. Take a look at the top sites in this metric:
1. TBO.com, 15 percent
2. AJC.com, 10 percent
3. Boston.com, 9 percent
4. SFGate.com, 8 percent
5. NYTimes.com, 8 percent
Seems to me it shows the strength of TBO.com and its brand.
And note, hearkening back to a conversation we had on your blog recently, TBO isn’t the newspaper brand.
Of course, TBO is also more than a newspaper site. It’s also a television site.
Always good to remember those ol blog conversations. You’re right. This is an example of a strong, standalone online brand. They also put a lot of thought into how best to market their three brands: The Tampa Tribune, NewsChannel 8 (WFLA), and TBO.com.
Still, naming all of the mediums the same thing would likely be easier / more effective. I’m not willing to concede on that point just yet.