Newspaper Ads Still Relevant to Auto Shoppers

By the Numbers: Reports of Newspapers’ Demise Not True for Auto Shoppers Posted on Friday, July 10 in Breaking Through the Clutter.

The report of my death was an exageration.
–Mark Twain, 1897

Mark TwainElvis is alive. UFOs crashed in New Mexico. The moon landing was filmed in a basement.

Isn’t it funny how rumors can take root and last for decades? The longer these rumors persist, the more we start to question people who believe them.

But here’s the thing about rumors; they’re not true.

Newspapers have been fighting rumors of their demise for decades.

There’s no denying that fragmentation has forever changed the landscape of media and how people consume news and content. There’s also no denying that the size of today’s newspaper audience is considerably smaller than it was 20-30 years ago.

While marketers scramble to adjust to an ever-changing media landscape scarred by dying traditions and new technology, one truth remains:

Newspapers continue to deliver a massive audience with an incredible array of buying potential.

This truth is especially evident in how Courier-Journal subscribers impact the local automotive landscape.

Recent studies from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and other sources have shown that Baby Boomers make up the bulk of today’s new car buyers. Newspaper audiences are rich in this audience. In fact, 80% of The Courier-Journal’s subscribers are 45 and older.

That got us thinking:

If new car buyers are aging, and our readership includes this key demographic, what impact does our engaged audience have on local car sales?

To answer this question, for the second consecutive year, we partnered with third-party analytics provider ValueScope to match Courier-Journal subscribers to their automotive purchasing habits and history based on IHS Automotive vehicle registrations.

Here is a by-the-numbers-look at how Courier-Journal subscribers impacted local automotive sales in 2014:

We Are a Community of Drivers

235,341 Vehicles are currently owned by Courier-Journal subscribers
2.4 Vehicles owned per home.
Compare that to 1.9 vehicles per home for the market average

Our Vehicle Purchasing Power is Strong

26,891 New and used vehicles purchased in 2014 by Courier-Journal subscribers
$594M Estimated retail value of those vehicles
22% Courier-Journal subscriber households who bought at least one vehicle in 2014
New Vehicles
8,463 New vehicles purchased by Courier-Journal subscribers in 2014
$262M Estimated retail value
Used Vehicles
15,498 Used vehicles purchased by Courier-Journal subscribers in 2014
$331M Estimated retail value

Our Impact Is Felt Among Many Brands

Retail Value of New Vehicles Purchased in 2014 (Top 5 Brands)

$62M New Ford vehicles
$36M New Toyota vehicles
$29M New Honda vehicles
$23M New Chevrolet vehicles
$14M New Nissan vehicles

We Are Not Done Buying Yet

5.4 Average number of years Courier-Journal subscribers historically have gone between car purchases
127,809 Courier-Journal subscriber homes with at least one vehicle owned for 5.4 years or longer

Proven Audience with Purchasing Power

Like the death of Mark Twain, reports of newspapers’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Instead, newspapers continue to provide a proven audience with shopping power suitable for any product or service, especially automotive sales.

The Courier-Journal is investing in research to directly measure the impact our audience has on local auto dealers’ business. How many other media companies can claim that? We also have a variety of products and platforms reaching this audience on a daily basis.

If you would like to learn more about our 2014 automotive study and how Courier-Journal Media’s audience impacts your dealership, feel free to contact us. We’d also love to talk to you about how an integrated marketing strategy – combining offline and online media – can help you reach your goals.

In the meantime, don’t believe everything you hear.


Courier-Journal Media Client Strategy Director Tommy SpaldingTommy Spalding is Director of Client Strategy at Courier-Journal Media. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter
Contact Us