Survey: TV, Web serve different functions for news consumers


Rumors fly regularly regarding the news, how it’s digested, who’s interested, and how they’re consuming it.

It’s not uncommon to hear that television still reigns supreme when it comes to broadcasting the news or that the Internet has taken over—sometimes both in the same day. These conflicting ideas can make content creation—especially when it’s related to news or events—difficult, tedious, and confusing.

However, a recent initiative called The Media Insight Project, a joint effort carried out by the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, looked into news trends by surveying 1,492 adults in an attempt to clear up the misunderstandings.

The results are surprising. Take a look at what they found and how you can adjust your content strategy accordingly:

The findings

The Internet is not always the go-to option for people looking for news-related information. When news breaks—such as the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370—adults are more likely to turn on the TV than to use mobile devices or computers to access information. Television is also the leading medium for national news, with big names like CNN leading the way among preferred networks for international news, politics, business, economic, and social issues.

According to The Media Insight Project, although television leads the way for uncovering breaking news, the Internet is the option of choice for people looking to follow up and learn more. The results demonstrated that 60 percent of respondents go online to follow up on breaking news with only 18 percent turning on the television. Just as interesting, over half of the study’s respondents have signed up for news alerts, highlighting certain key phrases as they appear online.

[RELATED: Get advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela—choose from 4 cities!]

What it means for you

As someone interested in content marketing to establish a brand’s credibility online through content, this study should matter to you. Though you might not work for a news agency of any type, you can still use news to your advantage in your marketing strategy.

Pay attention to news that relates to your industry, the service you offer, or the products you retail, so you’ll have an idea of stories that might appeal to your target market, changes that will get their attention, and information that they should be given.

Absorb that information, and look for ways to provide more detailed versions of it to your customers. If you market car seats and a recent recall has led to questions, take the time to answer them, and perhaps set up a tutorial of some kind. If a new drug epidemic is becoming a national problem and you run a rehab center, consider creating an infographic that breaks down relevant information and makes it relatable to your consumer market.

By paying attention to the news that surrounds you, creating a content plan as soon as it breaks, and sharing it with your followers, you’re increasing the odds that your information will be shared virally. More important, you’re setting up your brand as the go-to source of information, which is—as this study demonstrated—why users go online after news breaks in the first place: to go deeper and to learn more.

Don’t dismiss news stories as a way to boost your content marketing’s effectiveness. Instead, use it as a part of your regular routine to increase traffic and overall results.

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Twitter to Serve Ads Based on Browser History

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Twitter will allow marketers to target ads to users who have previously interacted with their websites, the company said today.

“Users won’t see more ads on Twitter, but they may see better ones,” wrote Kevin Weil, senior director of product for revenue, on the company’s blog.

The company had previously allowed marketers to target users based on population demographics such as location and gender.

Companies will supply Twitter with hashed, or encrypted, email addresses or a browser cookie ID for the users they want to reach. Twitter will then locate which users are members of its service and serve the Promoted Tweet to them.

“This is how most other companies handle this practice, and we don’t give advertisers any additional user information,” Weil said.

Users will be able to opt out of the email-addressed based targeting by opting out of “promoted content” in their account settings, Twitter said. Users can opt out of the cookie-based targeting by enabling Do Not Track in their browsers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation praised Twitter for implementing such privacy protections.

“Twitter has made some praiseworthy design decisions,” the group said in a blog post.

To date, Twitter’s ads have delivered fewer and lower-spending consumers to marketers’ websites than other social networks.

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