Memorial Day Weekend Ads & Deals

american flag.jpeg

If your inbox looks anything like ours, it’s flooded with Memorial Day Weekend sales already.  “The WHOLE store is on SALE up to 25% off EVERYTHING,” “Over 45% Off + More MEMORIAL DAY DEALS,” “Memorial Day Stars & Stripes Weekend Specials.”

It can be hard for companies to cut through the clutter on holiday weekends that have become known for not just parades and BBQs, but aggressive consumer deals as well.  Retailers offer deep discounts in hopes of getting a piece of the pie.  Typically you can find sales on clothing, appliances, camping equipment, electronics, mattresses, and power tools.

We picked up a few of today’s largest national newspapers to sneak a peek at who is advertising in print this MDW.

Wall Street Journal

We only found one small Memorial Day Weekend ad in the WSJ, a 1/9th page 4C ad for a bed and mattress company with a 10-20% off sale plus free delivery.  Overall, there were 5.5 total pages of real estate advertisements (the highest concentration we found out of any paper), 1.5 pages of house ads, and only 9.5 ad pages total.  With 60 total pages in the paper today, that’s less than 16% ads.  There were 24 ads total, 88% of which were in color.

beds direct

New York Times

The NYT had a total of 13.5 ad pages out of the 60 pages total (23%) and had many Memorial Day Weekend themed ads (6 out of 38 – 16%).  Only 37% of the ads in the NYT were in color.  They had 1 page total of house ads, .5 pages of luxury retail, 1 for wireless phone, 2.8 for movies, and 2.9 for cultural activities.  The MDW themed ads included two national department stores, one national retailer, one credit union offering auto loans, one travel ad, and one for an art exhibit.  Lord + Taylor’s ad included a 20% off coupon in addition to advertising 25% off almost all sale & clearance items plus 10% off fragrances with the purchase of a $5 ticket to benefit the USO.  Bloomingdale was highlighting their 60-70% off mattress sale.  And Crate + Barrel was promoting 15% off full priced items in addition to 40% off outdoor furniture.

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crate + barrel

USA Today

USA Today had the highest concentration of total ads with 7 ad pages out of 32 total (22%).  There were 16 ads which included three with Memorial Day Weekend tie-ins.  This publication had three national auto retailers (Jeep, BMW, and Chevrolet).  The full page Chevrolet ad touted their military discount program.  USA Today also included USA Today Sports edition- a glossy, digest-sized insert with three full page ads within.  Also included was a supplement insert of Healthcare News with several ads for universities with nursing programs, as well as a healthcare ad for Cigna.  63% of all ads were in color.

Chevy Salutes

Boston Globe

The Boston Globe was the smallest paper examined with 54 pages total including 8 ad pages (15%).  We counted 6 Memorial Day themed ads which included a local gym as well as a local auto dealer, and a travel ad as well.  We found the same Lord + Taylor advertisement as found in the NYT, as well as another Chevrolet MDW ad, though this one featured their lineup of available crossovers.  The same Crate + Barrel ad as featured in the NYT was also in here.  Out of the 25 total ads, 26% were in color.  We noticed more DR offers here with ads including coupons for travel, windows and siding, as well as basement finishing.  This edition also included a 10 page double-sided glossy insert for Macy’s Memorial Day Weekend sale including a 10% off promotion.  We also found a double-sided glossy color insert for Sleepy’s advertising ½ off.

local gym


local car


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macys insert

sleepy's insert

Overall, is seems there is no lack of deals to be found over this holiday weekend.  If you’re still in the office reading this on Friday afternoon…when everyone else is headed to the beach…here are two comprehensive roundups of the best deals of the weekend (you’re welcome):

Happy Memorial Day from MediaBids!

Post by Darcy Mauke

Liar, Liar, Clicks on Fire!

“Fraud.” A word that is starting to permeate the conversations on blogs and news sites covering the digital advertising industry. As people start to dig deeper into online response rates, more and more startling findings are beginning to emerge.

According to a new study produced by Invesp Consulting, Ad Fraud Accounts for $1 of every $3 Spent! That means a THIRD of advertising spend online is completely wasted. If marketers moved that budget to print, they could turn those wasted ad dollars into qualified, verifiable new leads. The infographic below outlines the online advertising fraud findings in more detail:

Infographic provided by Invesp Consulting

What can marketers do to combat this?

Our recommendation, of course, is to move a portion of the budget back towards traditional channels where there is a lower risk of fraudulent activity.

However, if you have a large spend online, it is worth the investment to enroll the help of a fraud-prevention service. There are third-party verification firms such as Adloox , Forensiq and Simility that take a deep look at traffic sources to weed out potential fraudulent activity and publishers. This info can help you negotiate refunds from your advertising service providers, as well as prevent further fraudulent activity.

If you’re an SMB, Google Analytics can show you where your referral traffic is coming from, and you can comb through the data to try and evaluate fraud sources to block their traffic or remove them from your advertising plan.

Other recommendations can be found by visiting the  Alliance for Audited Media – a group that focuses on validating the audience of media properties

This is a major issue – expect to read much more about it in weeks to come.

Post by Jess Greiner

Join Us for A Free PowerHour: Comparing Organic SEO vs Paid Google Adwords

Join media/advertising sales expert Ernest F. Oriente, the founder of PowerHour, LLCand Jedd Gould, CEO of MediaBids for a free MediaBids PowerHour on Thursday, May 26th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/New York time focused on Comparing Organic SEO vs Paid Google Adwords?

To register, please go to:

Details are below~for our 242nd free educational PowerHour, since 1995.

During this 60-minute MediaBids PowerHour we will be discussing the points below plus fielding your specific questions:

#1.  How does organic SEO compare to being found in paid Google Adwords?  What are the differences, as seen through the lens of ad agencies and key ad buyers?

#2.  What are the 7 keys for success with your media website to be seen organically, in the natural search?  How does this translate to what you need to know about the websites of your key advertisers and prospective advertisers?

#3.  What are the 7 strategies to win with Google Adwords, in the paid search?  How does this translate to what you need to know about the Google Adword campaigns of your key advertisers and prospective advertisers?

#4.  LinkedIn and Facebook, let’s discuss some emerging trends tied to their paid search offerings and what you need to know when speaking with ad agencies and key media buyers.

As prep for #2 above and to continue this discussion with ad sales leaders from around the world, please join our flagship LinkedIn group, Advertising Sales Success—with 4650+ leaders on this url:

Registration Information

When:  Thursday, May 26th

Please note, the above MediaBids PowerHour starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/New York/Toronto time, which is

12:00 p.m. Central/Dallas/Winnipeg time
11:00 a.m. Mountain/Denver/Calgary time
10:00 a.m. Pacific/San Francisco/Vancouver time
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Fee:  No charge

Recording is available after the MediaBids PowerHour, but you must register below to receive it.

To register, please go to:

For additional registration information, please contact at 800-989-0406 or E-mail

We look forward to having you join us.

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Content Marketing Via Newspapers

SF HousesAt Mediabids we recently became aware of a somewhat unique insert program at the San Francisco Chronicle. They call it the ”slim jim.” It’s essentially a multi-page, double-sided pamphlet (full-color, 6 wide x 10.5 tall.) In fact, you may have seen a similar ”insert” from American Express or another lux brand in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Anyway, this got us thinking about inserts and newspapers in a slightly different way.

One unique aspect of the slim jim product is the personalization feature; the inserts are going to San Francisco Chronicle subscribers only. As such, the advertiser prints ”Exclusively For San Francisco Chronicle Subscribers” on the front and back cover. This tactic isn’t necessarily cutting-edge but it is more often used in direct mail than newspaper inserts. Furthermore, the advertiser is using a unique phone number specifically assigned for the slim jim. The calls (both inquiries and sales/reservations) are then tracked back to the paper’s subscriber list. The tracking/reporting allows the advertiser to precisely measure ROI.

A top travel brand has been running the slim jim consistently for the past year. By all accounts it has been a very successful effort. Relative to a simple newspaper display ad, the slim jim really plays to the strengths of the advertiser and newspapers. Indeed, for advertisers and publications, there’s a lot to like about this type of insert product because it is essentially ”content marketing via newspapers.”


There are several reasons why newspapers are ideal content marketing distributors – targeting and context to name two. Affluent households are readers and print is a proven, high-conversion media channel. Insert products, like the slim jim in particular, allow for engaging graphics and copy -qualities that tend to be more appreciated by affluent, print media consumers. Perhaps most important though, good content can further the duo marketing goals of brand and sales. Print display ads, on the other hand, tend to struggle to further more than one objective at a time at a time.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of newspapers as content marketing distributors is not new. Advertorials have been a part of print publishing for generations and we are only a couple of years removed from the ”native ad” craze of the early 2010s.

We are well into the era of digital publishers being content marketers themselves and offering content marketing services to clients. Content is ”king” and print publishers are beginning to catch-up to the idea. Nevertheless, beyond the largest metro dailies, the idea that newspapers (and inserts) are a great way to distribute marketing content may not be top-of-mind in print ad sales departments around the country.

Increasingly, advertisers want marketing campaigns that are cost-effective, measureable, ideally allow for the right amount of personalization and reach qualified consumers or purchasers efficiently.  The San Francisco Chronicle’s slim jim (and similar insert products) check off many of these ”must haves” of smart marketers in 2016.

Post by Jim Jinks




Programmatic Print, Part 1 – An Overview

Today we bring you Part 1 in a series on Programmatic Print advertising.

For some time now, everyone in the industry has been talking about programmatic.  Programmatic media is defined as the automated buying, selling, and optimized delivery of media.  Its most commonly used to refer to buying online advertising through an ad exchange to target specific audiences.

Many of the newspapers we work with are now partnering with digital agencies to monetize their online platforms by offering programmatic online, or bringing digital people in house.  We’ve seen these programs achieve varying degrees of success.  Though it seems like an obvious complement to their print offerings, for many newspaper salespeople there is a vast divide and language barrier between their expertise and the world of digital advertising.  But, they’re trying.

With this change, newspapers essentially become an agency themselves, particularly to local advertisers without the resources to hire an actual agency.  If an advertiser’s local newspaper salesperson can offer digital programs (programmatic, in addition to display) to go along with their print advertising, they become their liaison into the world of online advertising.  They are essentially designing and executing a key component of the advertiser’s marketing plan.  As their first point of contact, the newspaper sales rep becomes their entry point into the online market.  Whether or not this positioning is best for newspapers is still up for debate.  But again, they’re trying.

But what about programmatic print?  What if there was an opportunity to automate buying audience groups in print?

Some publications are already doing this – over a year ago, news broke that Time Inc. would begin selling ads across a programmatic platform.  A private exchange grouping their publications and subscribers into audience groups.

But where is this now?  We’ll continue to explore the evolution of programmatic print in posts to come in this series…

Post by Darcy Mauke.

The Parallels of “Print” Advertising and Direct Mail

Direct Mail Words Mailbox Advertising Marketing Communication Me

Here at MediaBids, when we talk about “print advertising” we talk primarily about print ads in newspapers and magazines, since that’s what buy and sell all day long. However, a large part of the marketing world thinks about “print advertising” in terms of direct-mail and other printed marketing collateral. While the delivery vehicles may differ, both forms of print advertising share quite a bit in common.

On Tuesday, NEDMA (The New England Direct Marketing* Association) held their annual conference at Bentley University. I went as an attendee to get some insight into the organization and also learn more about the state of the industry.

The event was very educational, featuring lots of discussions on a variety of topics in the direct marketing world – from copywriting to new trends in direct-mail printing. Attendees at this conference included client-side marketers, direct marketing agencies, printers and list brokers.

The educational sessions I attended focused heavily on direct mail.  There were a few things that stood out to me about the industry, that I think parallel the newspaper and magazine advertising space. Here’s my key takeaways –

1.) Personalization – One of the biggest changes in direct mail over the past decade is the ability to customize each mail piece to the recipient. So much personal data is available out there about everyone – you can virtually tailor each mail piece to a person based on their credit history, interests, buying history, and family details (and the savvy companies are customizing heavily!). Experts in the space were sure to emphasize that with great customization must come great data accuracy. There’s nothing worse than a consumer getting a mailing that is completey off the mark.

Printers are developing technology and techniques to make this dynamic, personalized, digital printing more widely available and more affordable to businesses of all sizes. Hopefully, newspapers and magazines will take advantage of their robust subscriber lists and this new printing technology to create more customized content in their print editions (as well as more customized ads!).

2.) Digital Disruption – Digital advertising disrupted the direct mail industry in a very similar way to how it impacted newspaper and magazine advertising. By providing advertisers with cheaper, more measurable and instantaneous ways to get their message to prospective consumers, many companies moved their advertising budgets  away from direct mail and towards digital. Both direct mail and print advertising providers have had to adapt in major ways to keep up with advertiser demands.

3.) High CLV – Marketers throughout the conference reiterated what we at MediaBids been saying all along about print in all forms – PRINT DRIVES HIGH-VALUE CUSTOMERS. Reps from a wide variety of industries shared their testimonies of the ROI and high CLV of their direct mail advertising, and emphasized that customers who respond to their print pieces stick around a lot longer than customers they drive from digital.

Print advertising compliments any great marketing plan, and thankfully,  printing technologies are evolving to help make it easier than ever before for marketers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right customers.

Post by Jess Greiner

*Direct marketing refers to the method a businesses uses to market their product/service. When a business employs “Direct Marketing”, it means they market their product or service directly to the consumer, without a middle-man or retail distributor.




Magazines (like Newspapers) Are Not Going The Way Of The Dinosaurs.

magazines-705885_640Mediabids is the ”newspaper and magazine advertising marketplace” but you can be forgiven for thinking we only work with newspapers. Admittedly, here and in other forums, we do talk about newsprint a lot. Over 80% of our revenue from performance-based ad placements comes from newspapers, so we may have a bias. However, a growing portion of our ad placements and response is from magazines. So far in 2016, in fact, response from magazines is up about 15% versus the same period in 2015.

Arguably, digital media and mobile devices have disrupted the magazine industry as dinosaur-990303_640 (1)substantially (or more) than newspapers. The conventional wisdom, also similar to newspapers, is that magazines are terminally ill and will go the way of the dinosaurs before too long. But magazines are proving to be very resilient and increasingly well positioned to capitalize on several important trends.

The who, what and how of the present and future superstructure of marketing includes data analytics, content marketing and mobile distribution channels. Magazine publishers would be the first to say they know their readers very well, they are expert content creators and marketers and they are increasingly adroit at exploiting the promise of mobile devices.

Through 2019 magazine ad revenue is projected to be up slightly but more importantly, digital ad revenue is expected to grow at a pace that exceeds any losses in print ad revenue; and this will be true for consumer and trade magazines alike.

Post by Jim Jinks.





Factoring CLV into CPA Advertising


An article in MediaPost this week offered an insightful view on why the lifetime value of a customer should be a prominent consideration in the equation evaluating the metrics of CPA advertising.  By factoring in the long-term return on investment of capturing a particular audience instead of solely looking at the cost per acquisition, you are getting a more accurate view of the overall value of the campaign to the business.

“Rather than look for volume, advertisers should consider focusing on the quality of the conversion itself,” the author writes.  Here are Mediabids, we couldn’t agree more.  We see this strategy considered by our most expert advertisers all the time.  They are willing to pay more for a lead from print than what they pay an online affiliate network because a) they know the conversion rate in print is higher and b) there is greater long term value in that customer.

Take as an example an online flower retailer.  They may capture a new customer with an aggressive discounted offer for Mother’s Day flowers one year.  Assuming they deliver on the quality and expectations of that customer, they now have the opportunity to retain them for future lifetime purchases.  Cultivating additional value and increasing the spend of that consumer over time – further improving the overall CPA of that initial campaign.

To illustrate: If they’re offering 20% off a $40 product and paying their affiliate $10 per sale, the initial sale costs them $18 ($8 discount + $10 per sale).  But assuming they can utilize less costly customer retention email programs to generate repeat purchases from that individual consumer in the future (potentially at full price), that initial $18 could generate a $40 annual spend every Mother’s Day for 10 years.  Not to mention other holidays (Valentine’s Day, birthdays, graduations, etc).

On the flip side, consumer behavior indicates that shoppers utilizing Groupon or a similar coupon code site are always on the hunt for the best bargain.  They’ll buy something once because it’s available at a discount, but won’t return.  According to a Rice University study, only 20% of Groupon consumers become repeat customers.  The low lifetime value of these customers drives down the relative success of that CPA campaign.

Obviously there are many factors for companies to take into consideration when choosing where to allocate their advertising budget.  But with such high conversion rates, potential for increased lifetime value, and an affluent and unique audience with little overlap from other mediums, performance advertising in print is certainly worth adding to the mix.

Post by Darcy Mauke.

Players in the Perfomance Advertising Space

focus on results

Who pays a CPM for ad space anymore? A decreasing number of advertisers.

With the advent of Google AdWords, which allows businesses to pay for online advertising only when a consumer clicks an ad, a new era was ushered in where businesses no longer were restricted to purchasing ad space on solely a CPM Basis. This new era is the age of performance-based advertising, where how the ad performs is tied very closely to the cost of the ad exposure itself.

From our print corner of the world, we’ve seen this change happen gradually over the last decade. When we started, CPM was the only way to buy and sell newspaper and magazine advertising. Now, an increasing number of options are available, both in print and digitally. MediaBids offers a unique Performance-Based Print Advertising program, where we place newspapers in print editions of newspapers and magazines on a pay-per call or CPA basis.

Pay-Per-Call – Pay-per-call is becoming the marketing model of choice for advertisers who have call centers that can convert and/or are good at lead nurturing. Networks are popping up everywhere that promise businesses phone traffic on a pay-per-call basis – mostly focusing on mobile calls. Some of the big networks are Ring Partner, Call Marketplace, and Click2Call Network.

CPA/RevShare – Affiliate networks abound such as Affiliate by Conversant, Rakuten Linkshare and Impact Radius.

Pay-Per-ClickGoogle, Yahoo, and Bing are the granddaddies of the pay-per-click ad space but Facebook, LinkedIn and other Social Networks are offering their own platforms that provide very granular audience targeting.

Performance Guarantee – In TV and Radio, a few performance-marketing agencies exist that work on a blended performance model – often packaging a results guarantee with an upfront cost. A few companies we work with often are Barrington Media Group, who is in the radio advertising space, as well as Mercury Media, who is in the TV space but but also handles other mediums.

For advertisers, it is an exciting time where more options are available than ever before to minimize the risk of ad buying. For publishers, if you’re not thinking of how to offer a performance-based advertising model for your properties, you should be.

Post by Jess Greiner.


Weird Week

Does anyone else feel like last week was weird?

Trump Taco

I’m actually not even talking about the fact that Trump became the ”presumptive nominee.” But don’t get me wrong, that is weird!

The weirdness of the week, I’m referring to, was the ton of mixed messages emanating from the advertising trade media.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Editor & Publisher ran a story that more than hinted at the idea that people are sick of digital news and are, more and more, going back to reading newspapers in print.

  • News hit Tuesday that the Tampa Times was buying and closing the Tampa Tribune.

  • The Tampa Trib news was followed on Thursday by the surprising announcement that The New Day, a new British daily from Trinity Mirror would be shut down; after less than three months removed from its highly publicized launch.

  • Then to make things really interesting, at least from my perspective, there was this provocative post on The suggestion was that mobile advertising is too fraught with unknowns and outright click-fraud, that advertisers need to simply stop wasting their budgets on it until the issues are sorted out. I wholeheartedly agree.

So if you’re keeping score:

  1. People are tired of reading digital news and newsprint is still valued by readers.
  2. Newspapers are still struggling with costs and still closing.
  3. Advertisers are pouring money into mobile advertising but it’s a complete waste of money.

These stories all have some essential truth to them but the larger reality, for advertisers, is that their ad agencies simply don’t know print that well anymore (they’ve been too busy chasing all the shiny objects for the past decade.)

The reason why last week was so weird, for us at Mediabids, was that the news hardly seemed newsworthy, especially regarding the notion of digital fatigue and the pitfalls of mobile advertising.

Search marketing and mobile advertising have been the two categories of ad spend that have grown the most in recent years. The ”success” of these ad categories have been based on the ”measureable results” they deliver for advertisers….and as we all know, many advertisers are increasingly reluctant to spend dollars on anything that isn’t measureable in some way (clicks, likes, followers, site visits etc.) Search conversion rates are considered to be the best among all digital media, averaging 2%-3%. Mobile conversions, really good ones anyway, are generally about 1%.

If you’re an advertiser, here’s the thing you probably don’t know (and wouldn’t realize given the stream of negative news reports that tend to emanate from the world of print media) print advertising converts at an extremely high rate. In short, print media puts digital (and all other media) too shame. In terms of calls, our print advertiser have averaged about 32% this year (and this is typical for the past decade.) To be clear, this 32% average is of about 40 different advertisers; meaning some convert much higher and some convert lower but all of our advertisers are well above conversion rates in digital and other media.

If measureable results is your thing, mobile advertising has been disappointing and your search budget is maxed out -it’s time to give print advertising another look. This isn’t news. This isn’t ”what’s next.” This is what makes sense.


Post by Jim Jinks.