Inserts Surpass Radio In Weekly Reach

Sexy mass media like network TV, consumer magazines and the Internet seem to occupy much of Madison Avenue's attention, but it is the relatively staid medium of newspaper ad inserts that prove to be the best at motivating consumers to make actual buying decisions, according to findings of a new consumer research study released Wednesday by insert specialist Vertis.

More than a quarter (28 percent) of consumers surveyed said they consider inserts the most influential medium for purchase decisions, followed by television (22 percent), and newspaper display advertising (18 percent).

"Ad inserts have been around for over 30 years and they've always been influential, but our new survey conducted earlier this month clearly shows that consumers increasingly are being drawn to this medium," says Therese Mulvey, vice president of marketing research at Vertis.

In fact, inserts appear to have surpassed the relatively higher profile medium of radio in at least one key metric. For the first time since Vertis began surveying consumer attitudes toward media in 1998, more respondents said they read an insert in the past week (69 percent) than listened to morning drive radio (67 percent).

Of the 3,000 adults surveyed, 85 percent confirmed they used inserts in some form, a 3 percent increase from 1998. The study also finds consumers are most likely to use inserts when they are deciding where to shop for clothing (56 percent), groceries (52 percent), or home electronics (50 percent).

Thirty percent of those surveyed said that when they're ready to make a purchase they turn to inserts first, 18 percent turn to ads on a newspaper page, and 10 percent turn to TV. Ad inserts ranked first among women aged 18-54, and men over 35.

Adds Mulvey, "With less time on their hands and less money in their wallets, a growing number of shoppers are seeking out the best deals before they leave the house to go shopping. Now, more than ever, retailers and other marketers should consider including advertising inserts in their multi-channel marketing programs."

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