Healthcare Marketing: Newspaper Decline Tapering Off

The decline in newspapers’ paid circulation is slowing down and online views of newspaper sites are continuing to increase.

Newspapers have faced a strong decline in paid circulation over the past several years.  It has been a great cause of concern for the industry and has lead to the death of several notable dailies.  And it has been a concern of advertisers as well.  Previously a mainstay of any advertising plan, its reach and effectiveness has taken a serious hit.

But it appears the decline in readership is finally slowing. In an article in Ad Age , Nat Ives reports that the Audit Bureau of Circulations indicated an 8.7% decrease in circulation during the latest reporting period compared to 10.6% in the previous period. Newspapers’ Sunday paid circulation fell 6.5% compare to 7.5% in the previous period. However, with the decline there are still nearly 100 million adults who read a newspaper every day, according to Scarborough Research.

The good news is that newspapers are attracting more and more viewers to their websites. Nielsen Online data indicated that newspaper websites have over 74.4 million unique visitors per month, more that a third of all internet users.

Healthcare marketers have traditionally relied on newspaper advertising as a key component of their advertising plan.  With the continuing decline in circulation, the medium has become less and less effective.  Advertising rates should reflect the decrease in readers.  The negative effect has been less dramatic in smaller markets where consumers have fewer sources for local news.  And newspaper websites are becoming more and more attractive as an advertising medium as more and more consumers go online for their news.

The advertising landscape continues to change.  It presents unique challenges and new opportunities for marketers.  Trends in reach and frequency and impact must continue to be monitored and allocation of dollars must shift appropriately to assure maximum effectiveness for our advertising expenditures.

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