All posts by printobserver

So Let’s Talk About ”Conversions”

Conversion funnel

Are you a print publisher or print ad salesperson? How much do you talk to your clients about their conversion rates? Sometimes? Never? No worries. You’re not alone.

We know advertisers can be reluctant to share much about the results of their advertising. We know it’s much easier to thank them for their business and not ask too many questions. But times have changed and you may be surprised. Many of your clients might appreciate discussing ad effectiveness and sales conversion as it relates to their print advertising. You can bet they know a lot more about how their digital advertising is or isn’t working for them. Ultimately what do you really have to lose? The potential upside is priceless because engaging your advertisers on performance metrics can go a long-way toward cultivating a long-term and mutually-beneficial business relationship.

But before shooting off an email or picking up the phone to call your clients, here’s a little background and ammunition:

Conversion rates are usually ”contextual” and industry specific. In other words, ”conversion” doesn’t mean exactly the same thing to everyone. To complicate things a bit more the range of consumer actions an advertiser can measure is broad – sales, website visits, social media engagement, calls for more information, email opens, web form completions, content downloads, mobile ad clicks and more.

Print conversion rates are generally very good when compared with the rates of other media. Actually we’re understating it a bit. Print conversions are virtually without compare. They blow everything out of the water. This is especially true of the one media where much of the ad dollars are flowing these days – digital!

The average click-thru-rate (CTR) for a search campaign is 1.5-2.5%. The average website conversion is in the 2.5-4.5% range.

The average conversion rate of our print campaigns range from a high of 77% down to less than 10%. But the average is 42%! Meaning, on average, nearly one of every two calls is a qualified call. (Note: A qualified call is one that goes longer than the specified minimum length to determine the caller is indeed a potential customer.)

Conversion by Pub Type

This chart (above) shows the call conversion rates of our performance-based print campaigns across campaign category and publication type. The ”Mass Consumer” campaign bucket includes consumer products and services like satellite TV, internet, travel, car donation campaigns, dating services, home improvement and others. The ”Seniors” category includes all our campaigns that primarily serve or seek 65+ consumers including drugs, mobility devices, walk-in tubs, insurance and others. As you can see, daily publications do particularly well with both the mass consumer and seniors customers. Weekly and monthly publications have better conversions with the seniors campaigns than the mass consumer campaigns.

Conversion to a qualified call is analogous to when someone clicks on a search or display ad online. When the caller makes a purchase, it’s akin to when a website visitor places an online order. These are both examples of sales conversion. Our advertisers have an average sales conversion rate that is well above 15-20% range. We know this from client reporting and from the fact that call center costs are much higher than ecommerce campaigns. Performance-based print campaigns demand that call centers are converting to sales that at minimum levels still far exceed digital conversion rates.

The chart below shows the conversion rate difference between search ads and our performance-print campaigns and website sales conversion relative to the average print ad sales conversion of our advertisers. As you can see print conversion is 10X or more the average digital conversion rates.

Digital vs Print Conversion

So with print conversions thoroughly outperforming digital it begs the question why so many ad dollars are flowing to digital? Perhaps it’s in part due to our tendency in print ad sales to avoid discussing conversion and performance metrics. Print advertising isn’t just for brand awareness or recall. Good products and services and strong consumer offers in print do in fact move readers quickly down the funnel towards the sale. There’s a great story to tell. Those of us in print just have to tell it much more often.

For nearly two decades Mediabids has been offering print publishers ways to reach new advertisers, sell ad space and generate new ad revenue via performance-based print advertising. We have dozens of national, direct response brands that believe in print and the value of performance media. Mediabids’ specializes in bridging the gap between measurable response and print-based media. To view and request our performance-based print ads (display and classifieds) and digital display ads, visit Mediabids.com, sign-in and click on “View All Per-Inquiry Advertisers” in the middle of the page. For more information email Jim Jinks at jjinks@mediabids.com.

 

You Can’t Ignore Podcasts Forever

Podcasting

I tend to be a later adopter of things. I’m not a luddite by any means. But I still prefer CDs for music. I mean c’mon, the sound is far better than digital listening. I also still prefer newspapers and magazines in print rather than digital formats. I absolutely much prefer an actual book to an audio or reader version.

But I’m no luddite. Case in point, I listen to podcasts. Fact check: I listen to A LOT of podcasts.

I still haven’t listened to ”Serial,” the podcast that seemed to put podcasting on the map. But I do listen to other popular podcasts such as NYT’s ”The Daily,” ”In the Dark,” Slate’s ”The Political Gabfest” and the Ringer Network’s ”Bill Simmons Podcast” among many others that focus on politics and urbanism. If you’re already a podcast listener and you’re looking for something new, here’s a few lists of ”best podcasts of 2018:”

Esquire Magazine

Time Magazine

Vulture

The New Yorker

Discover Pods

Advertisers and publishers are somewhat like me in that so far they’re still late adopters of podcasting. Pods have been around for at least fifteen years and season one of the first podcasting hit, ”Serial,” originally aired in 2014. Yet spending on podcasts is still under $400 million annually in the U.S. (in a $200 billion ad spend market.) So ad spending on podcasts is still relatively small but emerging.

On the publisher side of things, despite the success of ”The Daily” from the New York Times, podcasts from media properties, especially print media are still somewhat few and far between. Quick…name another one! Mother Jones, is one example, that does a great podcast for those inclined to listen about politics with a liberal lean. Also, shout out to my local daily paper that does a daily podcast on local news – The Morning Record.

Generally speaking podcasting is exploding but if one works in publishing or advertising there’s a surprisingly limited number of podcasts worth your time. Here’s an unofficial list (from this unofficial podcast reviewer) of the better podcasts that focus on topics in content and advertising:

Ad Age Ad Lib

Rock Hard Ads

The BeanCast

Advertising Is Dead

Pivot

Marketing Over Coffee

There are many more podcasts that focus on more specific content and advertising topics – social media, site traffic, content marketing, affiliate marketing etc. etc. We’ll focus on a few of these in a future post.

In the meantime, consider giving these ad industry podcasts a try. Better late than never!

 

Contributor: Jim Jinks

Facebook: A Local News Company

 

facebook

Let’s not get carried away, Facebook is still the world’s second most visited internet site (after YouTube.) But no one can deny that the past two years have been bumpy for the leading social media company. Privacy scandals, post-2016 election revelations of Facebook’s failure to more forcefully counter the sharing of ”false news,” and an unpopular change to Facebook’s algorithms have all contributed to user defections and declining site visits.

Indeed even if some of the decline in traffic to Facebook is actually due to their users spending more time on other apps, Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger for example, Facebook’s much publicized announcement yesterday to invest in local journalism is as much about the priorities of Facebook’s core businesses, as it is an attempt to make amends for recent missteps.

First, what exactly are we talking about here? Facebook is granting over $300 million to a select group of journalism nonprofit partners including the Pulitzer Center, the American Journalism Project, the Local Media Association and several others. The grants are to fund the hiring of journalists to focus on local news and content as well as the development of technology for better ”storytelling and newsgathering.” Here’s a roundup of reporting on the story:

The Street

Axios

Editor & Publisher

Reuters

Second, why invest in local news and content? Because it is the backbone of social media sites, especially Facebook. Nearly half of Facebook users get news on the site and about half of those users share or comment on the news. In short, news is vital to Facebook’s audience engagement and community building.

Third, why are news audiences important? Aside from the fact that publications need subscribers and readers, news consumers tend to be better educated and have average to above-average household incomes. Advertisers value print publications and digital news platforms because they are ”trusted environments” for their brands. But social media users have said they tend to not have as much trust in the news they find on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Without trusted content, Facebook smartly knows they’ll have a harder time attracting advertisers and developing new revenue streams. Given that news consumers are most likely to trust strong local journalism, Facebook’s investments in local news production is a straightforward play for increasing trust, increasing engagement and increasing revenues.

 

Contributor: Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

Performance Metrics: PPC vs. PPCall

metrics screenshot

For ecommerce and direct-to-consumer advertisers and marketing managers, we know there’s no shortage of metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ponder and occupy our time.

Close or Conversion Rate

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Click Thru Rate (CTR)

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Abandonment Rate

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

Ad Cost/Conversion (ACoS)

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Pay Per Click (PPC)

The majority of these metrics or KPIs are online or ecommerce focused, of course. As we all know, marketing dollars have increasingly gravitated toward digital media in large part due to its measurability. But at Mediabids we specialize in lead generation via print publications and platforms. In other words, we bring ecommerce-like metrics to offline commerce.

Several of the KPIs in our industry -performance-based print advertising- are just like those in digital marketing; namely LTV, CPA and conversion rate to name a few. But our ”click” is an actual customer call and our ”conversion” refers to a customer call being long enough to be a ”qualified call” – meaning the customer is normally speaking with the advertiser’s call center for one-minute or longer. We use unique phone numbers and URLs to track response to our client’s advertising. Whereas the heart of digital media is pay per click (PPC), the core of our industry is pay per call (PPCall.)
amazon ppc

Many may be surprised (or not) to know that Amazon has emerged as one of the largest pay per click platforms in digital advertising. Amazon.com adds campaigns and new consumers every day. In fact, Amazon merchants currently enjoy a 10% average conversion rate -the highest in PPC advertising, so more and more advertisers are moving budget from Google and Facebook to Amazon PPC.

This got us thinking. How does Mediabids’ pay per call advertising compare with the industry leading pay per click platform? How does PPC compare to PPCall?

The following Amazon stats come from a recent PPC Den Podcast [”Amazon PPC Advertising Stats”] done by the guys at Adbadger.com. Click the link to check it out. The Mediabids PPCall stats are directly from our platform.

 

amazon ppc vs mediabids ppcall

  • Amazon’s global reach is well over 2 billion site visitors per month. At Mediabids our affiliate publications total in the hundreds of millions of print circulation per month. It goes without saying that on any given day our advertisers are reaching far fewer potential customers than sellers on Amazon. Nevertheless, the average campaign on Amazon generates 185 clicks a day while we generate an average of 48 gross calls per day. So on a per thousand basis, Mediabids’ performance-based print advertising is far more effective at generating response than even the best digital PPC platform.
  • Conversions per day, per campaign are very similar – 18 on Amazon and 17 for Mediabids. Admittedly this isn’t a true apples-to-apples comparison but the similarity is notable.
  • As you can see our average conversion to a qualified call (42%) is 4x higher than the average conversion rate of a campaign on Amazon (10%.) Alternatively, the average cost per call ($13.60) is significantly higher than the average cost per click ($1.01.) Important to note here that this relatively low average cost per click for Amazon does mask the much higher PPC rates in the more popular categories. But pay per call rates, given the higher operating costs, simply demands higher advertiser payouts per call. Also, again, the comparison of cost per click and cost per call isn’t a pure comparison. But the purchase intent and value of a customer actually picking-up the phone to call about a product or service is very high. It demands much more of the customer than a simple click on a digital button. A phone call also gives the advertiser an enormous opportunity to leave a lasting good impression on customers in a way that just isn’t possible through a site experience.
  • The average daily spend per campaign is also not that far off – $186 on Amazon vs. $231 for PPCall. Given the disparity in the per click and per call costs one might expect the difference in the average daily spend per campaign to be greater.
  • Lastly the advertising cost of sale (ACoS) is also more competitive than one might imagine. Our $13.60 ACoS would go up some with the inclusion of sales data from our advertisers but given the benefits to the advertiser of direct interaction with customers, the marginally higher ACoS is justifiable.

So there you have it – PPC vs. PPCall. PPClick will generate a higher volume of activity (though less efficient) but the conversion and cost metrics are more similar with PPCall than not.

Contributor: Jim Jinks

The Purpose Driven ”Ugly Christmas Sweater”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The ”ugly Christmas sweater” has long been a part of the holidays for many (tongue-in-cheek or not.) But one of the largest daily newspapers in northern Europe – Helsingin Sanomat – is very creatively and purposely putting a new spin on the ugly sweater tradition.

Helsingin Sanomat’s ”ugly sweaters” campaign has two main goals:

  1. To highlight journalism’s important role in bringing reality and truth to the public.
  2. To raise serious issues – like climate change, #Metoo, war, digital manipulation and plastics in our ocean – and to celebrate and recognize the work of activists and leaders in these areas.

According to AdAge, ”the sweaters were sent to celebrities and influencers who work on these issues, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio for climate change, Nobel Peace Prize winners Martti Ahtisaari, Malala Youszafai and Nadia Murad for war, Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano for sexual harassment.” Also, each sweater was made and sourced locally in Finland and the paper ran an article focused on each issue.

Taken together – the whole effort is a big win in terms of highlighting the importance of journalism and media in our world. It’s also a strong example of how creativity and marketing can be powerful, serve a larger purpose and serve business objectives all at once.

Happy Holidays!

Contributor: Jim Jinks

Newspapers Maintain Their Dominance

Monday Pew Research published their latest findings re: Americans and where they get their news. The headline was ”Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source.”social media image Pew’s analysis is that with about 20% of Americans now indicating they often get their news from social media, ”print newspapers” dropped below social media for the first time. So why our headline here that ”Newspapers Maintain Their Dominance?”

TV outpaces every other individual media source noted in the study including: news websites, radio, social media and print newspapers. Setting aside that none of these media distinctions really mean much to news consumers and that this is all basically just inside baseball, here’s how these news sources rank:

Television – 46%

News websites – 33%

Radio – 26%

Social Media – 20%

Print Newspapers – 16%

Respondents were asked to answer the question of where do they most often get their news. Pew notes that this is the first time social media has garnered a higher percentage than print newspapers. Nothing against Pew Research but as big believers in print publications – both news and consumer brands – we take some issue with the portrayal of newspapers suffering a loss of news consumers (and therefore value) due to more Americans getting their news via ”other” sources.

Over the past three to four years it’s commonly known that news consumption is way up. Technology and the Trump era have combined to heighten American’s appetite for information and quality news sources. Indeed, the New York Times has had a big surge in subscribers (both digital and print) since Trump started calling the paper the ”failing New York Times.”

But in all seriousness (and despite the actual decline in metro daily newspaper print circulations), newspapers are still the dominant news source by far. I’m not the average news consumer and I get 100% of my news via reporters on Twitter and the Twitter feeds of newspapers. This isn’t typical for my age group (45-54.) But I then sometimes share some of these newspaper articles from Twitter on Facebook. This distribution of news across channels is typical. My local daily and weekly newspapers also share much of their reporting on Twitter and Facebook. This is then circulated by social media users on multiple platforms. So the particular media (TV, radio, news websites, social media etc.) where consumers get their news is a distinction without a real difference.

Much of local and cable TV news is driven by newspaper reporting. Cable news broadcasters and personalities regularly quote sources at newspapers. Radio news updates are generally a rehashing of the days newspaper headlines. News websites are regularly among the sites with the most views and clicks. The reality of news consumption is that the specific media matters very little and ”print newspapers” or news platforms are still the dominant source of news for most Americans.

Long live ”newspapers!”

Contributor: Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Ads for Your Print Edition

The holidays are here and Mediabids has some great ads for your newspaper’s pages.

Click the links below to request an ad made to your specs, and get paid every time you drive a sale to these advertisers –

Omaha Steaks

OmahaSteaksSample

ABCMouse.com

ABCMouse

Login to view the full list of available advertisers or email pihelp@mediabids.com for more information.

It’s gonna be big! Because it’s like the classified section (sorta.)

Amazon

I don’t know about you but Amazon is far more a part of my life than I care to admit. Amazon is on my TV. It’s on my phone. It’s often on my doorstep..at least a couple times a week. In other words, I’m at peak Amazon! So to my surprise I’m here writing about the company….in my defense, at least I’m somewhat reluctant about it.

As we all know Amazon is big, really big. In terms of market value, Amazon is the second largest company in the world and it’ll likely hit $1 trillion soon. Given that Amazon is already so much a part of my life, I actually don’t pay that close attention to all the news about the company. I mean it is endless. But despite this my eye did catch a surprising headline- ‘Amazon Sets It’s Sights on the $88 billion Online Ad Market” -from Monday’s New York Times.

Google and Facebook dominate the nearly $100 billion online ad market. But ad dollars are starting to be diverted from these giants of the digital ad market to the giant of online shopping, Amazon. The reason why I’m saying that Amazon is likely going to play well in online ad buying (in the title of this post), is due to the fact that Amazon.com is kinda, sorta like a classified ad section of your local paper. I can imagine everyone doing a big eye roll at that last statement but bare with me.

Years ago, as many of you likely remember, the classified ad section was a huge source of revenue for newspapers. But even today, at Mediabids, we have print advertisers that generate tens of thousands of calls a year from classified liner ads alone. The reason is because the classified section is still where people go to shop.

Now consider this quote in reference to why Verizon sees Amazon as a good place to advertise (even though Verizon doesn’t sell anything on the Amazon site):

”It’s where the shoppers are. They have people who are in a shopping mind-set, so that’s valuable for Verizon to be seen as a resource within that mind-set,” said John Nitti, the chief media officer at Verizon.

Amazon has 100 million Prime members and judging by how often I see Amazon boxes on my doorstep (and Amazon’s market value) there’s a lot of shopping going on.

This is a long way of saying that publishers need to be thinking in terms of being places ”where people shop.” Brands are increasingly becoming performance marketers and performance marketers are migrating to the publications and platforms that offer the best places to reach people in the ”shopping mind-set.”

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Lesser Known Tariff Problem

CanadaMany Americans are aware of Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. We’ve been reading about the effects on companies like Harley Davidson, BMW and Alcoa. Americans are also probably aware of our emerging $500 billion ”trade war” with China. Tariffs that are impacting what we pay for a whole range of products we import from China.

But we’d bet few Americans are as aware that in retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, Canada slapped tariffs on paper and other goods. In fairness to the President, there has been long-running trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada about timber and timber products. Trump didn’t exactly create this issue. Nevertheless Canada’s paper tariffs are wreaking havoc on the newspaper industry, an industry that especially in terms of metro dailies can ill afford new and massive cost pressures.

Here’s a brief roundup of some of the great reporting on where things now stand:

New York Times

Politico

Nieman Lab (Newsonomics)

LA Times

WisCONTEXT

These tariffs have already cost newspaper industry jobs and if this goes on long newspapers will be forced to go out of business. This is especially a problem given that the press is already enduring a period of heightened attacks. What can you do?

Click to SIGN THE PETITION.

 

 

A Decade of Publishing Sales Tips, Tricks and Leadership Notes – On Demand

Tips and Tricks Chalk Illustration

If you’re a publisher and you haven’t yet tuned in to MediaBids’ free monthly Teleseminars, you’re missing out on valuable tips, tricks and anecdotes from both the President of MediaBids, Jedd Gould, and The PowerHour Coach, Earnest Oriente. Both hosts bring decades of advertising and publishing wisdom to listeners each month, and provide actionable guidance on how to make your publication the best it can be.

They’re available on demand HERE

Here’s a snapshot of some of the topics covered in 2018 –

June 2018 Essential Questions, Which Ones Generate More New Ad Sales?
May 2018 Navigating Adversity: Ad Sales Challenges & Opportunities?
March 2018 Ad Trends & Results, What Are The Stats Showing?
February 2018 Your Referral Engine, Working as Planned?
January 2018 S.W.O.T + S.M.A. = Giant 2018 Ad Sales?

If you have a request for any specific topics to be covered in our next TeleSeminar, please email marketing@mediabids.com