Category Archives: magazines

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.

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Print Titles with Subscriber/Readership Growth

Growth Sequence - A sequence of seedlings growing progressively taller, isolated against a white background.

Spanning a wide variety of publication types, many newspapers and magazines have seen an uptick in readership in 2017 over the prior year. Here’s just a small sampling of those who have increased digital & print subscriptions –

Harvard Business Review – 10% Growth in the past year.

The Austrialian – Growth of 4.7% in the past year.

Private Eye (UK) – Growth of 8.6% circulation over the past year

Financial Times – 20% increase over prior year

New York Times – 11% increase over prior year

To take a look at other publications who are experiencing growth in circulation and beyond, Editor and Publisher put together a nice list of innovative newspapers who have made strides in 2017.

 

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.

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

 

6 great ads that prove print isn’t dead

Sometimes we feel like we’re on a quest to prove print advertising isn’t dead. The term “print evangelist” suggests we’re not alone. Whether your goal is branding or direct response, print still holds a powerful piece of the marketing mix. We’ve seen studies pointing to high ROI and LTV for advertisers willing to run in print. And for our per-response advertisers as well as our direct clients, we’ve seen time and time again how print makes the phone ring.

Check out these great new print ad campaigns which show that some of the most creative work in the ad business is still being done for print.

Thanks to Nikki Gillilant at Econsultancy for compiling a more in-depth roundup with even more awesome print ads. Check it out here.

Post by Darcy Mauke.

 

Labor Day Weekend Sales

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  Chances are, if you’re still in the office reading this, you’re dreaming of taking off for a long weekend of beach, barbecue, and…shopping of course.

According to a recent CBS MoneyWatch article, LDW is the best time to get great deals on seasonal summer items retailers are trying to unload to make room for fall and winter goods.  Stock up on summer clothes for next season, a new grill, or if your mattress needs to be replaced, holiday weekends often tend to offer good deals.  Skip fall clothing, toys, and consumer electronics like Apple products – these types of items will be more heavily discounted in the Black Friday/holiday shopping timeframe.

Check your local newspaper for inserts with coupons and local promotions.  According to a research study for the NAA (Newspaper Association of America), 39% of US adult internet users favored newspapers for receiving ad inserts and fliers, compared with just 21% who preferred the web and 27% who wanted them sent via mail.  In fact 70% of US newspaper consumers said they checked the inserts to find out about sales and savings.

Post by Darcy Mauke

Print Ad Success, Happens To Be Just Like Fishing (no kidding!)

Ezra.jpg

I just returned from my annual trip to Alaska, where I did a lot of fishing with my kids. Stay with me for a minute, there is a point to this that relates to marketing in newspapers. I believe, that what I have learned about fishing applies to marketing in newspapers.

Not surprisingly, my kids all like catching fish more than they like waiting for fish to bite. The problem is that a big part of fishing is waiting (I always tell them, “that’s why they call it fishing, not catching”) and having faith that the fish will respond sometime soon. If my kids believe that we have gone to a bad spot or that there is no hope in trying, their attention to detail diminishes. Instead of checking the bait every few minutes, they check every hour. They don’t hold the rods, they put them in the boat’s rod holders. They are less likely to try different techniques or pay attention to where their bait is positioned. In short, fishing is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are unlikely to be successful, unless you pay attention, which is easier to do when you believe that success is possible.

In an effort to counterbalance the inevitable impatience of children fishing, for the past several years I have manufactured a new “secret spot” that some unnamed but very wise old friend has told me about. I tell my kids that this friend caught monsters at this spot and their enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch. They believe that this spot will produce fishing glory, so they fish harder, are more attentive to detail and are more patient than they would be otherwise. So it is no big surprise that my fictitious “secret spot” always outperforms other areas that we fish.

Fishing is a hard thing to scientifically quantify and there is no doubt that a certain amount of luck factors into a good day of fishing. However, I firmly believe that there are many factors that a fisherperson can control and the expectation of success creates an environment where success is more likely.

Now, stay on the line, I am about to set the hook – marketing in newspapers is very similar to fishing.

As you probably know, we do a lot of response-based print marketing here at Mediabids. In response-based marketing there are two parties who are involved in a transaction. First, there is the advertiser who is trying to generate response for their goods or services. Second, there is the publication, who wants revenue from the results they generate for that advertiser.

Too often, I believe, all parties (and I include Mediabids in this group) don’t expect success for a specific ad in a specific publication. They want success, but they don’t expect it. All parties involved act like my kids when they are fishing in a spot they believe is unlikely to yield results. But attention to detail generates better results in fishing and in newspaper marketing. Maybe the ad would perform better with a different offer or at a different price point? Maybe the ad would generate more response if it ran in a different section of the publication or at a different size or on a different day of the week? Often it is the little things that determine the difference between an ad performing well or below expectations. However, if success is not expected, it is easy to ignore those little things, which only increases the odds of failure. It is too easy to say, “This ad isn’t going to work.” and not try anything. It is like my kids saying, “There are no fish here.”

We should all expect success from print advertising. We have all seen enough success stories to know that print can generate large numbers of highly qualified results. It should happen with every ad we place, but it doesn’t. It is the job of Mediabids, the advertiser and the publication to expect and demand that ads perform well.

Post by Jedd Gould.