Measuring newspapers’ footprints

Newspaper footprint

Nearly 4 in 5 adults are touched by the “footprint” of newspapers, according to a report issued by the Newspaper Association of America, using data from Scarborough.

The report (PDF here) emphasizes a few key points:

  • Newspapers and newspaper Web sites (the newspaper footprint) reach 77% of adults in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 65% of young adults (18-24) in a given week.
  • In a given week, the newspaper footprint reaches 66% of adults who have been in their home less than a year.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 76% of food shoppers with long recipts($150+) in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 81% of consumers planning to spend $35,000+ on a new vehicle in the next 12 months.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 82% of adults who have made any Internet purchase in the last 12 months.

In the market for a new car…

I find the statistic on vehicles interesting. Here at Medill, where our Integrated Marketing Communications department harps on targeted, relevant advertising, we often discuss the inefficiency of car and real estate advertising in newspapers.

Traditionally, newspapers provided the only blanket coverage of a particularly geographic area. On the other hand, however, not many people are in the market for a car or a home at any given time.

On its face, that statistic affirms the traditional wisdom: if you want to reach someone in the market for a car, the newspaper will probably achieve that for you. On the other hand, you’ll be reaching a whole lot of people not in the market for a car. Not terribly efficient. And this report doesn’t seem to speak to that concern.

What happens when that number slips to 70 percent, then 60 percent? Of the population of people in the market for a car in the next 12 months, I wonder how many of them can be reached through ads on

Facebook’s marketplace capitalizes on database of social networks

Facebook - Marketplace Screen ShotI’ve been meaning to post on this for a while, but here’s my argument why Facebook’s marketplace feature has the potential to unseat Craigslist as the home for online classifieds, and is at the very least a much bigger deal than it’s been touted.

As I was perusing Facebook some months back looking for an apartment in Chicago, I found one in the Uptown neighborhood where the price was right. I read the description, looked at some pictures and saw the contact information to e-mail the person who posted the ad.

Thus far, nothing too different from Craigslist.

Then, at the very bottom of the post, I saw a little message that read “Send Brandon a message? You are not friends with Brandon, but you are both friends with Jessica.” (See more recent example involving an iPod Nano).Facebook - Marketplace Screen Shot

It hit me. Leveraging its enormous database of social networks, Facebook effectively eliminated the anonymity behind a classified ad AND established reputability between buyer and seller.

This is huge

Now, whether Facebook’s marketplace will become the home for online classifieds may be a bit of a stretch. But, as anyone who has used Craigslist can testify, there’s nothing more frustrating then not knowing (1) the identity of the person with whom you’re dealing and (2) whether or not they are reputable.

Identity and reputation.

Now, other sites (notably Amazon and eBay) have done with these two issues using reputation ratings systems. But for peer-to-peer transactions, sitting on an enormous database of connections (or friends) could easily be another, perhaps easier way, because it’s automated and requires no effort on the part of the user.

Something for newspaper sites to chew as they look further into hyperlocal sites and offer classified solutions that attempt to rival Craigslist.