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Survey helps us understand MinnPost readers and donors

In a startup, we all do many tasks. So your MinnPost CEO and Editor is also the market research analyst.

In a startup, we all do many tasks. So your MinnPost CEO and Editor is also the market research analyst. Here’s my best shot at what we learned from this year’s reader survey, which 842 of you kindly responded to recently.

  • The median age of all respondents to our survey was just under 48. For donors, the median was 56. For people who follow us on Twitter or Facebook, it was about 36.
  • Median income for all respondents was about $78,000. (For our donors, it was just over $90,000.)
  • 52% of respondents check out 2 or 3 pages per visit, and 27% read 4 or 5. People who visit more often also tend to check out more pages per visit.
  • Overall, 53% of our responding readers are male. About half of the respondents read MinnPost mainly at work, just under half at home, and about 2% on cell phones.
  • 82% live in the Twin Cities metro area, 13% in Greater Minnesota, and 5% elsewhere.

We asked some open-ended questions about what readers like best about MinnPost, what bothers them, and what suggestions they have for us.

What readers like

  • The quality of the writers and the reporting, including the insight and the depth.
  • Trusted source of news.
  •  Specific writers or features, such as David Brauer, Eric Black, Derek Wallbank, the Daily Glean, the arts.
  • The quality of the comments.

What bothers readers most

  • No new content on weekends.
  • Site design issues.
  • Too liberal.
  • Polarizing commenters.
  • “Contribution levels make me feel cheap and a piker.”

Suggestions to improve the site

  • More (coverage of two city governments, county government, investigations, conservative writers, stories on the weekend, sports, arts, business).
  • Less (bias, clutter, scrollbars, national news).
  • No suggestions; it’s great.
  • “Shut it down.”

Since we don’t plan to follow the advice to “shut it down,” we’re particularly interested in understanding more about our donors, who account for about 40% of the dollars we bring in to support our nonprofit enterprise.

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One out of four respondents has donated to MinnPost. Of course, that does NOT mean that one out of four MinnPost readers overall has donated. I wish. No, the people filling out the survey tend to be more dedicated to MinnPost than your average bear. (In real life, we have about 42,000 people who visit the site at least twice a month, according to Quantcast, and about 2,000 donors (counting anonymous ones), or about 4.8%. 

  • Still, we can learn a lot by comparing respondents who have donated to those who have not.  The more often you visit MinnPost, the more likely you are to be a donor. Among those respondents visiting 2-4 times a month, 5% have donated. Among those visiting 5-10 times a month, it’s 16%. But among people visiting the site 11-30 times a month, 31% have donated. And 36% of the respondents who visit more than 30 times a month have donated.
  • Of course, that means that 64% of the people surveyed who say they visit the site more than 30 times a month have never donated.  That particular group skews strongly male, and is on average a decade younger than our typical reader, but only slightly lower on the income scale.

Thank you all for your participation. The MinnPost staff will be examining the results and all your suggestions for improving the site. Additional comments and suggestions are always welcome.