Category Archives: community newspapers

Dramatically Higher Payouts Are Here

What a difference a year can make!

Over the past year something really notable and exciting has happened in response-based, national, print advertising. Per response payouts have gone up A LOT and more and better advertisers are moving into the industry.

Payout Escalation

In October 2018, among our set of advertisers, the average payout per response was $18.00. One year later the overall average has gone up to $27.00 – a 50% increase! But this isn’t even the most notable change year-over-year.

In October 2018, among our top ten highest payouts, the average payout per response was $46.00. One year later, the average payout per response, among our top ten highest paying advertisers is now pushing toward $100. The average is up 80% from one year ago and is now at $83 per response.

Our highest paying advertiser is now at $175 per qualified response. One year ago our highest paying advertiser was $100 per qualified response. That advertiser has since gone up to $115 per qualified response but this year-over-year increase is 75%. These trends are great for the industry and especially for publishers.

A big part of our role at Mediabids is to prove to advertisers what we’ve known for years – leads from print readers are the highest quality leads in direct-response advertising. Full stop. Print readers are more informed and thus are further down the conversion funnel, once they pick-up the phone to call an advertiser. These higher payouts from advertisers is proof that they’re finally getting the message and more importantly, seeing the results. As such we anticipate we’ll continue to see more advertisers be more aggressive with their per response payouts. In other words we don’t see these higher payouts as an inflation bubble that’ll burst. We expect to see payout continue to gradually move up across most verticals in national, per response, print advertising.

Current highest paying advertisers at Mediabids:

Shelf Genie

American Standard Walk Ins

LeafFilter

Andersen by Renewal

ADT Security

Acorn Stairlifts

MobileHelp

The Hartford-AARP

World Health Link

A Place for Mom

 

Visit www.Mediabids.com to view the ads for all of our campaigns, including the new Holiday 2019 campaigns we’ve just posted – Omaha Steaks, Hale Groves, Fairytale Brownies and others.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

NNA Survey Shows Newspapers are Still a Top Source of Local News

The National Newspaper Association recently conducted a survey to find out what consumers preferences were when it came to learning about local news in their community.

Newspapers slightly edged out television, but what was the most surprising stat was that only 1% of people surveyed cited newspaper’s websites as their preferred source. Also notable is that the majority of respondents have been readers of their local paper for 30 years or more. The full survey findings can be seen here: http://www.nnaweb.org/nna-news?articleTitle=nna-survey-newspapers-still-top-choice-for-local-news–1497279875–1575–1top-story

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Source

2016 Holiday Gift Guides – Publishers Monetize Audiences with Affiliate Links

christmas shoppingTis the season to scour the internet’s Holiday Gift Guides for the best presents for all the friends and family on your shopping list this year.

Publications have found a new way to monetize their audiences by producing content with shopping recommendations utilizing affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which the advertiser rewards an “affiliate” (aka publisher – online or otherwise) for each sale driven by that affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

So in other words, when you see a Gift Guide with clickable links published by the New York Times and you end up purchasing a product they recommend, that advertiser will give the publisher a percent of the sale to reward their efforts.

Instagram has made many of their “influencers” rich through affiliate networks such as RStyle, LIKEtoKNOW.it, ShareASale, Impact Radius, and others. This has long been popular among bloggers and independent website publishers as well. Though there are ongoing issues with disclosure and there may be more regulations in the future, this revenue stream is likely here to stay.

Now, many publications are getting into the game. The New York Times launched a beautiful interactive Gift Guide with dozens of product recommendations divided by category. This comes as no surprise following their acquisition of The Wirecutter, an online consumer guide which publishes in-depth product reviews.

 

The NYT includes the following disclosure (if you know where to look for it). But for many readers of the NYT unfamiliar with this type of advertising, it certainly further blurs the lines between editorial and advertising.

The gifts included in this guide were chosen solely by The New York Times. Our editorial content, including that by Wirecutter, which recently became a part of the company, is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships.

Through a third party, we may receive commissions on sales made on the linked sites. When our editors and writers make selections, they do not know what products may generate a commission, or what that commission might be, and payments play no part in their decisions.

Similarly, New York Magazine has a recommendation page called The Strategist. Real Simple has many holiday gift guides available as well, and I’m sure most magazines are building these types of pages now, if they haven’t already. Wired, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, the list goes on and on.

 

Buying print advertising, for years we’ve seen publications try to maintain “church and state” separation between their editorial recommendations and the revenue generated from their advertisers. But there are huge monetary opportunities from affiliate advertising revenue in providing product recommendations to loyal readers.

Sometimes we describe what we do here at Mediabids with per response advertising (or performance marketing) as affiliate advertising since many e-commerce companies are already familiar with affiliate programs and do these types of campaigns online. Supplementing their online affiliate campaigns with a print campaign is a great way for advertisers to reach a new and desirable audience. Likewise, it benefits publications by bringing revenue back to print through advertisers that wouldn’t otherwise consider the medium.

For publications looking to add an alternate revenue stream, or if you’re an advertiser interested in reaching new consumers…call Mediabids today at 860-379-9602.

Hey Gannett, Why Buy More Papers?

networks

As of this writing, it’s quite possible that Gannett has bought Tronc (a.k.a. Tribune Publishing.) As many media watchers know, Gannett has made a series of offers to Tronc this year. Based on a report from Politico Media today, the deal appears to be all but announced.

Whether you’re inside or outside the media business you may be wondering why exactly Gannett is in such a hurry to snap up Tronc, one of the country’s largest metro newspaper publishers. One thing is for sure, it’s not necessarily about publishing more print newspapers.

Newspapers and journalism have been in the midst of a great deal of industry upheaval and change for the past decade. The future of newspaper publishing isn’t about growing print circulation. Rather, the future is about digital (meaning video, really) content distribution to a valued audience of reliable news and content consumers. Metro newspaper publishers are aiming to deepen their relationships, and drive revenue, by providing their loyal news consumers with more content overall and more mobile-friendly content, to be precise.

Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and several other large metro papers. In other words Tronc has audiences in several top ten media markets. According to ComScore, Tronc’s online audience exceeds that of the Washington Post and nearly matches Disney. As you might expect, these are among the largest audiences on the web.

Gannett is already the largest newspaper publisher in the county. The purchase of Tronc, with it’s large online audiences, content distribution network and investments in video production,  position Gannett to be a major player in the future of content, information and entertainment. A future that is, more or less, already here.

Post by Jim Jinks

Advertising is Dead

cemetery

I’m sure on a Monday morning, at the beginning of a long week of anticipated sales and prospecting, the last thing anyone would want to read is that their industry is ”dead.” I’ll admit ”Advertising is Dead” is a strange title for a post, especially given that Mediabids is in the advertising business and our last blog post title happened to be  ”6 great ads that prove print isn’t dead.” Obviously advertising isn’t dead but the way many people still think of advertising -meaning the way many of your clients still think of advertising- is very much dead. This is particularly true at the local SMB level where advertising for the purposes of reach (i.e. to get the word out or simply build awareness) is very much dead.

As we all know, digital has been disrupting the advertising business for many years now. To date, the greatest disruption has been to the newspaper and magazine business but lately the bigger story is the disruption in local TV and radio. SMBs have increasingly relied on digital advertising channels – first it was local search ads and now it’s search plus social media advertising. Why?

It’s not that fewer people can be reached by local TV and radio, quite the opposite.

It’s not that local TV and radio have lost all their considerable powers to influence an audience.

It’s not necessarily about the cost of creating TV and radio spots (although for some SMBs this may be an excuse they frequently give to media sales people.)

It’s also not even about the cost of buying local TV or radio time (although it’s not inexpensive.) If advertisers could better measure the impact of local TV and radio, the sticker price would be less of an issue. In other words, what advertisers don’t want to pay for is the unknowns.

Earlier this year, eMarketer announced that digital display ad spending would exceed search spending for the first time. In 2016, digital display ad spending is projected to increase 23% while search spending would grow another 10% this year. The reasons for the growth in digital display are several: the improvement in the user-experience online (or UX as the fancy people call it); the explosion in smart phone adoption; and perhaps most importantly, the ability to better qualify (and CONVERT) traffic and customers through the use of video, rich media and native advertising online.

As I said, advertising in terms of reach is dead. But advertising in terms of conversion, as the eMarketer article suggests, is booming. It’s all about conversion now, especially at the SMB level. Automakers, soft drinks and snack makers, national quick-serve chains and some retailers still need big reach to drive people into store locations. However, many SMBs are much more interested in the conversion of digital traffic to paying customers. This means a mix of media that allow SMBs to qualify callers and site visitors -such as digital display, search, email, social media and PRINT.

Yes, I subtly added print advertising to the list.

It’s true. Print advertising still has a big role to play in our increasingly digital first world, especially for the SMB market.

At Mediabids, our advertisers have conversion rates that are well into double digits (the average is about 40%.) So advertising, as we have long known it, is dead. But what advertisers want from their investment in advertising hasn’t changed much at all – they want to pay for customers at a cost-effective rate. This means that digital and print advertising is most relevant and still kicking.

Post by Jim Jinks