Category Archives: mobile phones

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

 

Top Podcasts for a Better You

Head Phones

I have been one of those people, at times, that has been indifferent to the emergence of the digital age. I mean, I still read actual books…sometimes I even buy hardcover versions! I know. I know. What a Luddite, right?

But let’s be honest, unless you’re a big gamer, the internet has been -until the past few years- awash in advertising and A LOT of one-dimensional content that can be take it or leave it (there are many exceptions, of course.) In fact, among the most heavily visited sites on the old WWW have been newspaper sites -which is great, don’t get me wrong. But newspaper sites are hardly what all the fuss and promise of the internet has been about, until recently. As many of you likely already know, the latest generation of the internet (are we at 3.0 yet?) is about text, messaging and social media apps and accessing video and audio content. It’s the audio content (a.k.a. podcasts) that we’ll talk a bit more about here today.

Starting in 2015, especially with the popularity of Serial (from the makers of This American Life on NPR), podcasts have really begun to emerge. National Public Radio, the New York Times, Slate, ESPN and several other media outlets have really started to focus on podcast content, not to mention a myriad of other smaller players. After all, the production of podcasts doesn’t necessarily require much of an investment beyond a microphone, a server for storing the files and the time involved. As a media salesperson or an agency staffer, why should you care about podcasts?

Podcast audiences, generally speaking, are still relatively small so selling ad space in them or looking at them as a cornerstone of a media plan is a ways off..in terms of really being a part of the marketing conversation. But as a media seller or an agency staffer, the real value of podcasts to us is more basic – inspiration and education.

At the risk of sounding a little new age, listening to podcasts (like reading books or watching films) can help you be a better you. The exploration of ideas and hearing different perspectives on things that are happening in our world, will only help you -as a media seller- to make connections with others and -as an agency staffer- to be able to think of old problems in new ways. If you haven’t started to take some time for podcasts, the time is now. At the very least, if you’re still something of a Luddite like me, starting now you can still claim to be an early-adopter (even if it’s just barely the case.)

If you’re unsure of where to get started with podcasts, here are five from the worlds of journalism, business, culture, politics and entertainment to consider:

RadioLab

TED Radio Hour

The MOTH

SLATE Political Gabfest

WTF with Marc Maron

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Millennials & Boomers

Berlin Wall

I’m of the Gen-X generation. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t worry about it. Despite the fact that MTV, Ferris Bueller and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on our watch, marketers are almost entirely consumed by the habits of the pre- and post Gen-X generations. You may know them by their more traditional labels – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, based on how much time those of us in marketing and media spend thinking and talking about boomers and millennials, the Gen-X generation is a apparently a mere footnote of demography.  Yes, I’m a little annoyed about this, but I digress.

In print media organizations, especially, there’s a great deal of concern about how the media consumption habits of boomers and millennials differ. People with an axe to grind (digital, TV and radio media sellers, for example) are fond of saying that print’s audience is dying off….as if only older Americans read print. This is, of course, not the story.

The media consumption habits of millennials and boomers do differ, in some ways. But in terms of ”old” media, the differences are not all that significant. In other words, there’s no Berlin Wall separating the two largest generations of the past hundred years (just us Gen-Xers.)

Based on a recent study by Jacobs Media Strategies, these are the percentages of use (at least once per week) for each demographic:

Boomers – Radio (89%), Newspapers (86%) and TV (81%)

Millennials – Radio (80%), Newspapers (71%) and TV (72%)

Also, the Jacobs study reports that tablet, text and Smartphone usage are not all that different between these two groups.

Of course, the spread (15%) between boomers and millennials, for newspaper usage, is widest but it’s not that much different than radio and TV. My point is that the media habits of younger Americans and older Americans, on a macro level, are not that different and it’s untrue that newspaper readers are simply dying off.

But if you’re determined to claim that millennials are so different than the generations that have come before them, I will offer that in terms of podcasts, streaming video, streaming audio and social networks, millennials do use these media by a wide margin over boomers. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before boomers adopt more millennial-like media habits, with regard to these newer technologies. The rapid adoption of Smartphones and tablets among boomers, shows that sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

Top Marketers to Follow @Twitter

I started using Twitter, somewhat, back in 2011. It wasn’t until 2014 that I began to be more of a daily user and started to publish tweets on a regular basis. Twitter launched in 2006 so I was a relatively late adopter -perhaps I should have little to say- but it’s 2016 and especially if you’re a salesperson for a digital and/or print publisher, you really need to be using Twitter by now.

Twitter

It really is an invaluable tool for keeping up with the news of the day, especially in both the publishing and marketing industries. For one thing, your publication’s editorial department is using Twitter. Second, many of your clients are likely using Twitter and the advertising agency buyers you call on are for sure using Twitter. Why aren’t you?

In a less than scientific survey of media reps, these are the three most frequent reasons for not using Twitter:

  1. Why would I use it if I don’t know who to follow?
  2. I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet so why bother?
  3. I already get plenty of industry email newsletters…I don’t have time for Twitter!

Let’s start with #3.

Are you reading those industry email newsletters? If you’re following the knowledgeable people that actually aim to offer their audience valuable insights and support, then it’s relatively easy to glance at Twitter -here and there throughout the day- without it taking too much time or being disruptive to your workflow.

Regarding the second objection to Twitter (”I don’t think anyone would care what I tweet.”), you may be surprised at your own value to others in your industry so don’t hesitate to tweet out if you have an original thought or something to say. But also, no one is forcing you to tweet. You can use Twitter, and it is still valuable to you, even if you never ever respond or share anything on Twitter.

Now #1 is indeed a valid objection and I can relate. Twitter is a little intimidating at first, because after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. But for those of you ready to try something new and you’d appreciate a little help in taking the leap, here’s a few leading voices in marketing to consider following, be inspired by and perhaps learn from on Twitter:

@jeffbullas

@kimgarst

@jaybaer

@dharmesh

@JoePulizzi

Of course, there are at least forty other thought leaders one could follow. But once you get started you’ll learn quickly how to curate your own list.

Be well and good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks (@JimJinksCT and @Mediabids)

 

 

Open Letter to Media Buyers & Marketers

newspaper machine

Is this picture of newspaper boxes kind of how you think of print? …dreary, old, outdated?

C’mon. Be honest. This is a safe space here.

As a media buyer, agency exec or client-side marketer, the way you think about print media has an enormous impact on the newspaper and magazine industry.

There was yet another sour report today about print revenues. First quarter 2016 newspaper and magazine revenues were down another 3.5-4.5% YOY.

I know many of you have moved on to digital and probably haven’t given much thought to print advertising for some time. I know and it’s not entirely your fault. After all, it’s tough to not follow the herd when the stakes and demands are so high. It’s also especially tough, when you may not know better.

By largely turning our backs on print (and instead pouring dollars into digital display) we’ve missed a huge opportunity to be heroes.

Mediabids Conversion

This chart shows close rates and the average length of calls for a few of our advertisers that deliver the highest call volumes. To be clear, the decimal point is in the correct place. All of our conversion rates start with TWO numbers before the decimal point.

By comparison, here’s the latest conversion rates for digital display ads.

Digital Display Click Thru Rates

If you’ve been spending time in digital media, these conversion rates are very familiar and may be the norm. From my perspective, these conversion rates are just north of ”why bother?”

Print advertising is a huge opportunity to deliver real results and value to your clients. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to update your view of print media.

Sincerely,

Jim Jinks

Marketing Podcasts: Less Pain, More Gain.

Podcast image

If you’re a local media salesperson it’s important to not only know everything there is to know about what you’re selling but you also need to know what your customers may be thinking, in terms of their marketing options and ideas.

As professional marketers, it’s tough for us to keep up with all the new technology and marketing opportunities that arrive on the scene at an ever increasing pace. Imagine how your small business customers feel? In addition to running their business, they get bombarded by media salespeople in their local market as well as emails and online offers from all the social media and digital channels. The options, opportunities and trends are likely to be overwhelming to most small business owners and managers…or at least make them feel like it’s tough to keep up and make an informed decision on where to best invest marketing dollars.

One thing a local media salesperson can do is attempt to be THE authoritative voice for their small business customers. I know what you’re thinking. Who could possibly have the time to read marketing books or spend valuable prospecting time following ”thought-leaders” on social media or participating in webinars. I get it! Especially as a salesperson, your time is valuable and you’re judged by closing sales (not how smart you are about marketing.)

Recently I’ve been thinking, how can I get smarter about marketing without committing time I don’t really have in the first place? Then I thought…what about a podcast (or two?) There are very few podcasts that are household names. Check that, with the possible exception of Serial (https://serialpodcast.org/) there are no podcasts that are household names. So how or where to get started?

Admittedly, this wasn’t exactly scientific:

  1. I did a Google search of ”top marketing podcasts.”
  2. Based on seven different rankings from people that purportedly listened to all (or most) of the podcasts in the marketing podcast universe, there were five marketing podcasts that appeared in ALL of the rankings.
  3. If you’re looking to become a smarter marketer in less time (and be your customer’s marketing guru) then these would likely be a great place to start:

#AskGaryVee

Beancast Marketing

Six Pixels of Separation

Marketing Over Coffee

Social Media Marketing Podcast

Have a listen and please let us know what you think in the comments section below. I hope you find these enjoyable and valuable.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

 

 

Local PI (per inquiry) – Top 5 Reasons to Start Today

Digital Print pic

Local PI (per inquiry) is a program for community-based publications that are looking to meet the changing needs of advertisers in their local market. Every community has local market advertisers that want to buy newspaper ads but will only buy the ads on a performance basis (meaning pay-per-call.) In other words, local PI is a way for local publications to generate revenue from local advertisers that are otherwise more likely to continue spending their entire budget on search marketing and social media. Local PI offers community publications a way to stay relevant to the majority of local market advertisers.

At Mediabids, we have local PI already figured out for you. We handle all the paperwork, rate negotiations, ad traffic, call tracking/reporting and accounts work. Your publication runs the advertising and is paid a fixed amount per call generated. It’s that simple!

Whether or not  you’re struggling to replace lost print revenue with digital or alternative sources, here’s the top FIVE reasons to be considering local PI.

It’s Easy

Under any circumstances, it’s tough enough to sell advertising space. But now you’re also battling against several damaging mis-perceptions -namely, print is dying and too expensive. Local PI is entirely response-based (e.g. phone calls) so it’s easily more measurable and cost-effective for advertisers than most other local advertising options.

Also, Mediabids handles everything so local PI doesn’t cost you or your sales staff time or money. Your ad reps continue to focus on selling ROP and digital to their book of business.

New Print Revenue

Local PI is an alternative revenue source but it’s also new print revenues. To put it another way, it’s a new opportunity for you and for select advertisers in your market. The ideal local PI advertisers:

a)  May have tried print before but didn’t stick with it.

b) Were consistent customers for many years but are now reluctant to return your calls.

c) New businesses or advertisers that have always avoided print for one reason or another.

Phones Are Driving Everything

Local PI provides local advertisers a way to tap into the increasing use of smartphones and tablets by consumers. It just makes good business sense.

Mobile phones use has exploded over the past 4-5 years and people love to pick up the phone and call, rather than fill out an online form or email. In fact, roughly two-thirds of customers prefer to call versus other ways to contact a business. BIA/Kelsey recently reported that by 2019 businesses will get 162 billion more customer calls than they received in 2014. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Clearly, consumers are increasingly wired to call.

Bridge the Digital-Print Divide

Mobile phones are the proving to be the missing link between advertising and the customer. Seventy-nine percent of people ”switch devices during a single activity” – meaning consumers today move from one media channel to another and move from online to offline media channels quickly and with ease. (Invoca, Call Intelligence Index 2016) Local PI drives calls from print ads to local advertisers and print calls are by far the highest quality calls. The average call from a newspaper ad is over 3 minutes longer than an average call from TV and 2 minutes longer than an average call from an online display ad.

Home Services pic

Local Advertisers Get Results

According to the Invoca’s Call Intelligence Index 2016, the industries with the highest increases in call volumes are those with high value purchases or services where customers generally need a lot of personal service. The kinds of local businesses in these categories include home repair, financial services, insurance, health and wellness and travel. What does this mean? It means you likely already have a long list of potential local PI advertisers in your backyard.

Rolling all this up – you have advertisers that want measurable response and customers that are increasingly prone to respond to advertising via their phones. As a print publication, you want more print revenue but you need a way to overcome the usual objections to print – ”high” cost and a less competitive ROI. Local PI by Mediabids checks all the boxes.

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

 

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.

http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/us-online-and-traditional-media-advertising-outlook-2015-2019-55869/

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

 

 

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.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/feature/as-digital-fatigue-sets-in-readers-are-waking-up-to-newspapers/

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

http://www.poynter.org/2016/tampa-bay-times-buys-and-folds-the-tampa-tribune/409819/

  • 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.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/05/04/trinity-mirror-to-close-the-new-day-just-10-weeks-after-launchin/

  • Then to make things really interesting, at least from my perspective, there was this provocative post on Venturebeat.com. 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.

http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/05/open-letter-to-cmos-stop-all-mobile-advertising-immediately/

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.