Daily research of the front pages in Ekstra Bladet

September 26, 2012 by  

Pia Stork, Research Manager, Ekstra Bladet, Denmark was one of the speakers during today’s Media Research Seminar at the INMA European Conference 2012. She talked about how Ekstra Bladet researches its front page every day on readers and non-readers. What sells the paper and what doesn’t? Thanks to the live online statistics, the research can be treated as Google Analytics for the printed paper.

One day, the Board requested a daily report on how the newspaper is being perceived by the audience. At first the task seemed impossible. But not if:

  • everything would be automatics
  • it would be a very simple questionnaire
  • a number of respondents agrees to do that

There is just a couple of hours to complete the answers by Ekstra Bladet. The newspaper is published at 8 am, the results are sent by 5 pm as a link to the answers. The cost of such research was narrowed to 250 euros a day.

The questionnaire consists of 5 questions:

  • do you buy the paper today or just read
  • what elements of the front page made you buy the paper
  • what elements made you not buy the paper
  • how interesting the front page is?
  • immediate response to the front page (open question)

The research can give many information but sometimes the results may be questionable. Example: the edition with Breivik story had 51% of respondents who bought the newspaper because of the front page, and 49% who didn’t buy it for the same reason.

There are many questions to be answered by the publisher who owns such data. How to use it on the daily basis?. How to choose the right top story? What to choose for tomorrow? Are those choices “in line?”.

The analysis helps Extra Bladet analyse the reason behind the consumers decision to buy or not to buy the paper.

They got a couple of overall learnings:

  1. the stories with the biggest purchase score were the ones about political double standards, cheating with public money, social deception
  2. biggest additional sales had the stories that were action oriented, helping readers when they can’t make head or tail.
  3. best barometer scores were driven by good combinations of different stories – all of them with high scores.


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