75% of Online News Consumers Get News through Email and Social Networks 7

Not only are consumers spending more time than ever before on social networks, they’re also using social networks as a one-stop-shop for news and information. The latest study released by Pew Research Center today found that 75 percent of online news consumers get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites.

However, online news consumption isn’t completely taking over offline (mainly TV and radio) consumption. Instead, consumers are combining both offline and online sources to digest news. In fact, 59 percent of the 2,259 U.S. adults (18+) surveyed, noted they use both sources. Meanwhile, only two percent noted they only use online sources for news and 38 percent of those surveyed still use offline sources as their main news provider each day.

Pew goes onto note that today’s multi-platform news environment is becoming portable, personalized and participatory:

  • 33 percent of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones
  • 28 percent of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them
  • 37 percent of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter

Looking closer at Facebook as a news hub, it will become increasingly important for brands to ensure that their messages and announcements penetrate the social network. This could be through their Facebook fan pages, personal posts, aggregation buttons on corporate blogs or even journalist posts. In addition, news stories with brand and message inclusion should also be scored on if they make “most emailed” lists, are posted to an outlet’s Facebook page (i.e. the New York Times posting a story) or if a reporter personally posts a story to their page (example illustrated above).

Personally, Twitter has been a great crowd-sourcing tool for myself each morning that often beats the morning paper in terms of multiple sources, stories and varying points of view. However, I’ve found myself going to Facebook for the same type of crowd-sourcing recently. With the combination of friends’ updates and news posts from both friends, colleagues, news outlets and clients it becomes a more personal experience. I also find that with more information posted (no character limit), I spend less time clicking through to stories (not necessarily a good thing for media companies).

And that personal experience isn’t only key for myself. Despite all of the online activity, Pew notes that the typical online news consumer routinely uses just a handful of news sites. Most likely because the news and information is overwhelming and consumers opt for sites that they are comfortable with and engage within themselves.

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