Jan 26, 2023 - Economy

Scoop: Memo's latest report points to surprising readership trends

Readership of major breaking news stories
Data: Memo; Chart: Axios Visuals

Keeping up with the news is like drinking from a firehose, but the question remains: How thirsty are readers?

Driving the news: Axios got an exclusive look at Memo's first State of Media and Readership Report, which shines a light on how and when people consume news.

State of play: Throughout 2022, tragedies like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II saw the most readership.

  • Bad news also drove business coverage. As conversations around inflation and a potential recession rose, so too did readership of news about business leaders — which saw an increase of 94%.
  • Other hot topics for business leaders included the future of work (91k average readers), leadership style and advice (70K average) and personal profiles (50K average).

Zoom in: The report also provided several counterintuitive findings:

  1. Midweek news dump. Wednesdays are the busiest news days, so news is easily buried in the middle of the week, the report finds.
  2. Weekend coverage is prime. There's less coverage on weekends, yet readers are still engaged. Articles published on weekends received 63% more readers on average than those published during the week.
  3. Social listening isn't what it used to be. Referral traffic from social channels is trending down — with less than 10% of article traffic originating from social — as platforms deprioritize news sharing. According to Memo’s research, not only does social engagement not indicate actual readership, it’s not even directional.

What they're saying: “Corporate communicators are responsible for managing narratives that regularly move billions of dollars in market cap value for companies," Eddie Kim, CEO of Memo, told Axios. "Yet PR and comms receive little credit for this. Understanding readership helps give credit where it’s due.”

The bottom line: Having strong intuition is valuable, but understanding readership trends is critical in the world of modern public relations.

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