Survey: Print Circulars Dominate Other Media in Cyber-Weekend Deal Seeking

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There were lots of media channels used by retailers to promote their Cyber-Weekend deals. And unless there were specific discount codes assigned to each channel, determining which of those “worked” is a challenge for the retailers and their agencies. Even with channel-specific codes, it wouldn’t capture the full multi-channel picture of consumer behavior.

As were most of you I imagine, I was bombarded by email and retargeted display ads. I also search for products and looked at lots of content and many sites on my iPhone and Android tablets (plural). Apart from my own product-driven searching and browsing, I started to wonder if any of retailers’ myriad “push” efforts were having a genuine impact or whether they were all receding into the background as noise.

There’s evidence that email was probably the most successful “push” channel over the weekend. But I was fascinated by earlier National Retail Federation survey data also released over the weekend that showed where/how consumers discovered shopping deals and information.

The survey was conducted November 28-29 by Prosper Insights and involved 4,631 US adults. Below is the hierarchy of media channels they say they used for Cyber-Weekend shopping discovery:

  • 47.1% looked for information on Thanksgiving weekend deals in advertising circulars
  • 35% utilized retailers’ emails
  • 27.4% searched online (search engine, mostly Google)
  • 20.2% paid attention to television commercials
  • 21.3% used word of mouth

This is all self-reported data so that has to be factored into to any analysis. Self-reported data are frequently not entirely accurate.

However it’s fascinating that the top method used were retailer “advertising circulars.” Email followed and then search. It’s curious that social networks don’t appear in here as a choice. Other data sources said that Facebook and Pinterest did drive awareness and sales.

The press release and related data didn’t disclose whether “advertising circulars” also refers to digital versions. My guess and assumption, however, would be that the overwhelming majority of these people are referring to print newspaper inserts.

What do you think about this data? Do you believe it?

If it’s accurate it would mean that print newspaper advertising trumped digital channels (other than email) by a significant margin.

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