We all know Print is a dying medium. A big publisher told me the other day that readership of her portfolio was declining 10% YoY. She wasn’t upset though; total readership across print and digital was up and there was nothing but light at the end of the tunnel. ‘Eyeballs are eyeballs’ she said.
Publishers now encourage agencies to buy their audience across all channels & devices and many agencies are now set up to do this. The simple logic is that if the Guardian or Times audiences are now spread across the traditional paper, website, apps and social presence then brands should follow suit.
On the surface that makes complete sense. If you are bought into the audience of these brands why not reach them on whatever device they happen to be consuming on?
But does it really make sense?
Our classic notion of a media audience is a homogenous group of people loyal to & likely influenced by a particular brand. It was in an advertisers’ interest to target a Guardian or Telegraph reader because on the whole they looked more like the people who bought their products and they could be reached at scale.
These proxy audiences are less important when you add digital to the mix; we can now construct and reach valuable bespoke audiences based on data.
In this mindset the Guardian becomes a source of quality (audience and environment) rather than just offering access to people who are a bit ‘left leaning’.
The evolution of print planning and buying isn’t just buying across websites, apps and social channels belonging to traditional publishers but planning and buying digital audiences based on data throughout quality environments.
Traditional publishers have a big part to play in the future of audience buying but the definition of audience needs to go deeper than just that of the brand.
If clients are desperate to hold onto traditional media audiences and want to buy one brand across all its platforms in the hope that a difference is made then please; at least have an attribution measure in place to prove the value either way.