Category Archives: MediaBids

The Future of Hyperlocal News

aol patch
(Photo: Patch)

Earlier this week we posted on the strength of community newspapers, despite the current struggles of their national and regional counterparts.  Part of the reason for their success is the lack of availability of hyper-local news online. Where do you go to find out about local events, local politics, and local businesses?  Chances are, you turn to your weekly community newspaper.  And chances are, you can only find them in print, as very few have complementary websites.

Though some people turn to local pages on Facebook for “news,” these groups contain posts that are not vetted, edited, nor are discussions monitored or moderated.

AOL made a pass at this with Patch, their “hyperlocal news network,” launched originally in 2007 and acquired in 2009.  Patch struggled to achieve profitability and monetize their traffic, and according to a TechCrunch article from December 2013, the network lost AOL millions of dollars in their attempt to keep it alive.

According to the corporate website, AOL spun out Patch to Hale Global in January 2014.  It seems the site now relies heavily on community member posting directly to the site, and the local staff writers and journalists in each location appear to be more regionally-based where one reporter may oversee a dozen or so sites.  They operate 900+ local news sites in 23 states and as of when it was last reported on in 2014, had a staff of about 65.  The “LocalStream” pulls social content from Facebook and Twitter, while the bottom of the page features popular national news stories.

The new management was able to turn the company profitable by May 2014, according to the New York Times.  The biggest change, not surprisingly, was on the advertiser side.  While the site used to rely heavily on local advertisers, and employed sales people to sell display ads to local businesses, it now has a $5k minimum spend.  This almost certainly prices them out of reach for local advertisers.  From what we observed on the sites, most ad space appears to be retargeted programmatic ads.

What does all this mean for the future of local news?  NiemanLab reported last fall that after many local journalists were laid off by Patch when they were sold off by AOL and the company pivoted to become a leaner organization, many of those writers have gone on to launch their own local news sites.

Whether online or in print, “local” represents a huge opportunity for advertisers and allows brands to meet consumers where their heart is, at home.

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For advertisers looking for help reaching consumers at the local level, contact us at MediaBids.  Likewise, if you’re looking for national advertisers for your newspaper or magazine, we can help!

Post by Darcy Mauke

 

Generating Ad Revenue in Print

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A recent article in The Guardian points to the challenges newspapers face attracting advertisers and maintaining ad revenue.  And yet millions of people are still picking up print editions.  Though the article comments specifically on the UK market, the same could be said of the industry here in the US.  But contrary to the sentiment the author suggests that “publishers must find new ways to convince advertisers that they have audiences worth targeting,” we would argue that publishers are tasked with finding alternative ways to monetize their product.  Convincing advertisers of the value of their readership is not enough.

While many have looked to selling digital advertising as their saving grace, there is another option.  A new revenue stream within the print property.  Per-inquiry advertising.  Yes, this involves publications taking on risk and shifting from their traditional model.  But if they are boasting engaged readership, shouldn’t they have confidence in their ability to drive response?

Advertisers are paying per response in other mediums, so is it really that unrealistic that they expect to be able to do the same in print?  They demand performance, measurability, and tracking.  Advertisers need to justify spending, after all.

Here are MediaBids, we believe in the power and value of newspapers.  Our President, Jedd Gould, has said “we at MediaBids feel very strongly that newspapers and magazines are a critical component to democracy in the United States…we really feel that without newspapers and magazines and the original content that they’re producing, we all would be worse off”.  When is this truer than in an election year?  Yet, we know the model is being threatened by economic pressures and changes in the advertising landscape.

Hundreds of publications have already adapted and teamed with MediaBids to run per inquiry ads.  While response varies widely depending on many factors such as advertising campaign and publication size, its undeniable these campaigns are driving calls and sales, thus delivering revenue to publications.  If you’d like to increase your advertising revenue and feature national advertisers in your publication, give us a call today at 860-379-9602 or learn more at https://www.mediabids.com/publication/print-advertising.jsp.

Mobile Help Now & Inogen Portable Oxygen Ads

MediaBids is pleased to offer new pay-per-call and CPL ads from two new advertisers. These ads can be run in print editions of newspapers and magazines – custom sizing is available. Publications get paid every time a reader makes a qualifying response to the ad.

New clients include:

Mobile Help Now – MobileHelp is a medical alert system that travels with folks, alerting help wherever it is needed. Request an Ad Now

Inogen Portable Oxygen  – Inogen offers a handy, portable oxygen tank that might be covered by Medicare. Request an Ad Now

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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