Tuesday, May 10, 2011
This report from Pew Research Center concludes that most news site visitors are casual users, or media grazers who show up once or twice a month, spend one to five minutes then move on. The challenge that presents to the media in defining its audience to advertisers is the same as that faced by PR practitioners responding to clients. Who is visiting a news site? We don't know and we can't predict who will see a story on a site except for a tiny group that visits regularly. If this doesn't worry you, it should. It means that counts of site visitors are suspect. It means that the audience a site has today is not the same as that of tomorrow. It means that we need to think differently about how we reach people online. It is more important for Google to run a news story than it is for USA Today. We need to think more of news aggregation than of reaching specific media and of keywords for story filters than placement on a web page.