Thank you to all who participated in our readers’ survey earlier this year (January-February 2023). We appreciate the feedback. It helps us to evaluate how we are doing and how we might move forward. This is the second readers’ survey we had conducted through DataWise Consulting. The last one was in 2020. Using the same software platform makes it easier for us to compare the data we received from both years.
Back in 2020, 405 people completed the survey, while 199 started but did not complete it. However, 95 of these incompletes were still included in the data as they had responded to 30% or more of the survey.
This year, 2023, we had a larger sample size, with 747 people completing the survey and another 206 who started but did not complete. Out of the incompletes, 88 of them had 30% or more of the survey done and were included in the data.
The fact that more people—almost 200 more—participated in the survey is heartening.
I am still digging through all the feedback and analyzing the numbers, but I want to share a few of the results with you.
Overall Satisfaction Rose
This is probably the key number I look at. Thankfully, the overall satisfaction rate has increased since 2020. The results show that 75% of respondents are either Very Satisfied (44.5%) or Somewhat Satisfied (30.5%) with The Banner. Back in 2020, 69.7% of respondents were either Very Satisfied (37.7%) or Somewhat Satisfied (32%).
Meanwhile, the total percentage of those who were either Somewhat Dissatisfied (8.6%) or Very Dissatisfied (9.5%) dropped to 18.1% this year from 20.9% in 2020. With a larger pool of respondents this year compared to three years ago, this is a very heartening result.
This overall increase in satisfaction among our readers strongly suggests that we are on the right track in our editorial direction, our policies, and strategic plans. Although this is not a perfect indicator, it is the best evidential data we have. The evidence points us to stay on course.
Reflecting this, the majority of the comments we received in the survey were positive, mostly along the lines of “keep up the good work.” We are grateful for all the encouragement we received.
In the survey, we also asked you to rate our current performance on a number of items. I will share just four of them: two addressing the “how” of things (ease of reading and design layout) and two the “what” (content).
Responding to “Articles are easy to read,” 16.9% of you rated us as Excellent, compared to 15% in 2020. And 61.4% rated us as Good (61.9% in 2020), while 19.9% think we are Average (20.5% in 2020).
The majority of you also rated us highly in the “Attractive design/layout” category. We were rated as Excellent by 20.4% of you (17.4% in 2020), while 52.6% rated us Good (54.7% in 2020). And 24.6% rated us Average (24.1% in 2020).
When we asked you if you think our “articles have a Christian Reformed perspective,” most of you think we generally do: Excellent—12.7% (13.5% in 2020); Good—50.7% (50.6% in 2020); Average—21.7% (23.9% in 2020).
I am pleased by the responses to, “Articles strengthen my understanding about God/Bible,” since it is my desire for readers to grow in this way: Excellent—13.6% (12.2% in 2020); Good—44.4% (39.3% in 2020); Average—25.4% (32.2% in 2020).
Overall, our current performance ratings reflect the overall satisfaction levels.
Readers’ Reading Habits
I worry your eyes may be glazing over by now with all the numbers and percentages. But just two more items for you.
We asked about how you read The Banner, in-print versus on-screen (whether online or in-app). Although the number of on-screen readers have increased over the past three years, the majority of you still read us in print.
In-print vs on-screen reading: 2020/2023
- Mostly on screen: 8.6%/14%
- Entirely or almost entirely on screen: 13.2%/14.2%
- About the same amount in print and on screen: 19.7%/19.8%
- Mostly in print: 23.3%/25.7%
- Entirely or almost entirely in print: 35.1%/26.3%
There were also a number of comments in the survey that asked us to keep the print version of The Banner going. With 52% of our readers still reading us mostly or entirely in print, we are not planning on cutting print anytime soon.
Finally, a significant number of our printed copies are read by more than one person. We asked, “Other than you, who else reads your hard copy of The Banner?” A lot of CRC couples read The Banner together: 46% of you share the print copy with your spouse. Other people who share a Banner copy are other family members (besides the spouse) at 6% and friends at 3%.
It is good to know that the print copies are often read by more than one person in a household.
Of course, there are a lot more numbers and results—not to mention hundreds of written comments—to digest, but I will stop for now. I hope you find these few tidbits from the results interesting.
Thank you again to all who participated in our survey.