From Our Little Corner of the Print Industry: Ads Generating 45,000 Phone Calls a Month

phone ringingHere at MediaBids, we’ve tried to
innovate in the print advertising space for the past decade. Some things have worked well; some things have not.

Our latest effort has focused on
performance-based print advertising. Essentially what we do is offer publications a new revenue stream via access to
new advertisers who typically don’t buy much print advertising, and offer advertisers a way to advertise in print that uses
the performance-based payment structure they have come to expect from other
mediums ( pay-per-call, lead or sale.)

They key to this program (we call it
our Per-Inquiry Print Advertising Program) is that we track responses to print
ads – primarily through unique phone numbers – in all of the ads we place.
Occasionally we use unique URLS or promo codes, depending on the advertiser. To
date, we have placed over 80,000 print ads through our program in printed
publications across the US.

We’ve been doing this for over five
years, and as a result, have amassed a large amount of data about the
effectiveness of print advertising. Over the course of the next few months we
hope to extract some meaningful findings from this data and share them with

To start the conversation, here is a
quick fact: Ads that we have placed as part of this program so far in 2013 have
generated an average of 45,000 phone calls to advertisers a month.

We work with only a handful of
advertisers in this way – typically placing ads for between thirty and forty
advertisers a month – a tiny fraction of the total universe of advertisers who
use print as a marketing channel across the US.  Moreover, we are still in
the minority of marketers who track responses to print ads. Traditionally,
print ad response rates have not been as easy to track as other mediums, but
with advancements in call tracking platforms and internet-based solutions, that
has changed. If our thirty or forty advertisers generate 45,000 phone calls a
month in a wide variety of publications, can you imagine how many phone calls
and how much new business the rest of the advertisers using print in the US are
generating each month?

We hear
incessantly that print is dead, and would like to offer a different perspective
to the conversation.  From our little corner of the print industry, it
seems people are very much still reading the print versions of publications,
and moreover, are very much engaged with the advertising. While a
response-based revenue model might not be the silver bullet revenue idea
everyone has been looking for, hopefully the information we can share in the
upcoming months provides a little transparency into the typically opaque world
of print advertising.

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