Category Archives: newspaper reporting

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.

Fact Checking ”Truthiness”

Trump PinochioStephen Colbert famously coined the term ”truthiness” to describe the way politicians often say things that are at best only half-true. Working in advertising, where we are held to a relatively high standard pertaining to ”truth” (not to mention subject to laws and official government oversight), the nature of advertising in politics -with its loose relationship to facts- has always been particularly frustrating to me, both as a voter and professional marketer. As a society, why do we demand more from our commercial advertisers than our politicians?

It’s a big question and I will not be attempting to answer it here. One thing is for sure, ”truth” isn’t exactly easy to define. Often it’s the case that our truth is simply what we choose to believe. But, of course, we can’t simply let politicians entirely off the hook.

Hillary 2016

While there isn’t an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looking over the shoulder of political campaigns and consultants, in recent years there has emerged a strong vein of fact checking (even an industry, really) including newspaper and non-profit organizations. The next time you’re curious about the facts behind statements and/or advertising from one of the major candidates, these are the four most widely noted fact checkers:

Factcheck.org

Politifact.com

Sunlightfoundation.com

Poynter.org

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

5 Print Industry Videos (In Additon to the #tronc Video) That Are Worth A Watch

The video tronc (formerly Tribune publishing) recently released has received a lot of attention within the publishing industry. Here’s a link ICYMI – https://youtu.be/oeo1V-47BBw

While it is definitely noteworthy, (and many other blogs have covered it quite thoroughly) we wanted to bring to attention a few more videos about the industry that are important in their own ways.

1.) When Journalism Meets Technology

A super interesting video about how media companies are using artificial intelligence to create news stories. One example is how an article about an earthquake in the LA Times was created automatically in four minutes by a “Quakebot”.

2.) Print’s Not Dead for Comic Books
Sales of hard copy comic books are on the rise, which flies in the face of the common narrative about the death of print.

 

3.) Innovation in Newspaper Ads – Some interesting samples from Newspapers Canada about how advertisers are using print in clever ways.

4.) The Wall Street Journal – Newspaper Readership Now, Then and in the Future A concise look at the evolution of the newspaper.

5.) MediaBids – Newspaper Advertising is Alive

Here at MediaBids, we see print ads driving phone calls, leads and sales to advertisers all across the US. In this video, we talk a little bit about how performance ads can generate a new revenue stream for newspapers.

Post by Jess Greiner

All Advertising is Local

There’s an oft used phrase in Washington – ”all politics is local.” Congressman Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic Speaker of the House from Massachusetts, wrote a book titled All Politics is Local so he is perhaps most closely associated with the phrase. In short, no matter what is happening in the world, a smart politician pays attention to the ”parochial” interests of his/her constituents.

Neighborhood pic

In some ways, despite the overwhelming attention paid (in the media and in the advertising industry) to the spending of large national chains and global brands, much of advertising is local as well. But we need to think a little differently about what we mean by ”local.” Very few advertisers are necessarily well served by trying to reach everyone (not that it’s possible.) Effective ad campaigns require that we can reach certain households and certain people within a household. Advertising is not quite local, in the Tip O’Neill sense of the word, advertising is really more like hyper-local or at the individual level.

So why am I banging on about this? Why does it matter?

It matters because understanding the root of effective ad campaigns -especially now- should change our perception, somewhat, of the way the ”demise of print” is so often reported.

In print news recently, Politico reported that Macy’s would be cutting their ROP national advertising by 50% and last week Mediapost reported that the Newspaper Association of America announced they would roll up National Newspaper Network (NNN), their national ad sales arm.

http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/06/the-macys-factor-004590

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/278133/newspaper-national-network-folds.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline&utm_campaign=93824

Juxtapose these print industry reports with a recent article in the Atlantic about the state of journalism in the Facebook era. The Atlantic article noted that Pew Research looked at the digital traffic of the top 50 highest circulation newspapers in the U.S. Pew found that in just the past year, over half the papers had seen mobile and tablet traffic explode past desktop traffic. In other words, news consumption isn’t declining – it’s simply migrating to devices that are more personal (e.g. at the hyper-local or individual level.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/06/facebook-ate-the-universe-bye-universe/486944/

It is true that many large metro dailies are struggling to hang onto national advertisers and this struggle is likely to continue. However, newspaper organizations are well positioned to capitalize on the hyper-local/individual-level needs of most advertisers, especially when we better define ”most advertisers.” In the U.S. the number of corporate/national advertisers is dwarfed by the number and amount spent by small/local market advertisers.

Facebook and Google have thrived because they offer cost-effective tools that ”small” local market businesses love. Facebook and Google are response-based and allow advertisers to reach relatively well-defined groups of potential customers. Local advertisers, unsurprisingly, have flocked to this low risk way to target the ”right” people in their communities.  Indeed, the Atlantic article reported that 85% of all online ad spend goes to Facebook and Google….rather than the flashier ROS display buys on high traffic sites.

Community weeklies and mid- and small-dailies have the advantage of the content distribution channels of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat and others) while offering advertisers a print and digital footprint that largely overlaps well with the defined local markets of many small advertisers. For the great majority of these advertisers, their menu of local marketing options beyond Facebook, Google AdWords, direct mail and the local newspaper platform includes advertising media that are decidedly less geographically targeted, response-based and cost-effective. For a variety of reasons (ad production costs, reach, waste etc.) Broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, outdoor -and even in some cases the large metro daily- are not ideal for many local market advertisers.

The widespread generalization of ”print” and ”advertisers” -in a great deal of the print and advertising industry reporting- pretty much walks up to the line of misrepresenting what is truly happening in these industries. Granted, advertising and small business at the hyper-local/individual level is tougher to generalize but it is where the bulk of all kinds of important transactions are actually happening at an ever increasing rate.

Post by Jim Jinks.