Category Archives: online advertising

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 …dreary, old, outdated?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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Definition of Truth

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of ”truth” is ”a judgement, proposition, or idea that is true or is accepted as true.” This seems straightforward right? I mean..a fact is a fact. Well, as we all know, truth is often in the eye of the beholder. This is why so much misinformation or incomplete ”facts” float around about virtually everything. It’s why two people of similar intelligence can come to two completely different conclusions on virtually any subject. In other words, what I choose to believe may not be what you choose to believe.

Truth

At Mediabids we push back against the ”truth” about print publishing and advertising on a daily basis. This speaking into the wind nature of our everyday lives is particularly frustrating when it comes to the truth about weekly community papers. The Tribune (I mean Tronc, I guess), USA Today, New York Times and the big metro dailies get all the attention of the media watchers. You’ve all seen the headlines. The newspaper is dying right?

The truth is print circulation at many of the big metro dailies has declined (but they’re in transition and most are not going anywhere.) Nevertheless, the big metro dailies are also only one part of the newspaper industry story. The truth is that weekly community papers and shoppers are doing well and are very optimistic about their futures (see our most recent Print Observer post, ”The Future of Hyperlocal News.”)

To a certain extent, I’m sure none of this is news to the readers of the Print Observer. However, what you may find newsworthy, is that in terms of performance-based advertising (and all advertisers are demanding more and more performance), weekly papers deliver on par with daily publications. Through the first five months of the year, our direct-response ads in weeklies have delivered a similar number of calls as the dailies:

Per Month, Per Publication (avg.)

Weeklies – 104 calls

Dailies – 146 calls

At least in terms of our national advertisers, dailies clearly do a bit better than weeklies but this comparison needs some qualification. Weekly papers are generally delivered via the mail or later in the day – meaning people read them later in the evenings or over the weekend; the two least likely times for people to respond to print ads. On the other hand, dailies are generally delivered in the early morning. Based on our call volume data, readers then respond to daily paper advertising from 10a-3p weekdays (presumably while they’re on break or at lunch.)

Local news is important and continues to be relevant – not to mention near impossible to find from trusted online sources. Fact is, the local weekly still has a virtual monopoly on community news. Furthermore, local advertisers value being able to reach customers in the communities they serve, at a competitive price point and through a trusted local media source with generally deep roots. Local weeklies have a lot to be proud of – in both serving their communities and in their value to advertisers. No matter what you believe about the future of print, community weeklies are thriving and that’s the truth.

Post by Jim Jinks

 

 

 

Liar, Liar, Clicks on Fire!

“Fraud.” A word that is starting to permeate the conversations on blogs and news sites covering the digital advertising industry. As people start to dig deeper into online response rates, more and more startling findings are beginning to emerge.

According to a new study produced by Invesp Consulting, Ad Fraud Accounts for $1 of every $3 Spent! That means a THIRD of advertising spend online is completely wasted. If marketers moved that budget to print, they could turn those wasted ad dollars into qualified, verifiable new leads. The infographic below outlines the online advertising fraud findings in more detail:

ad-fraud
Infographic provided by Invesp Consulting

What can marketers do to combat this?

Our recommendation, of course, is to move a portion of the budget back towards traditional channels where there is a lower risk of fraudulent activity.

However, if you have a large spend online, it is worth the investment to enroll the help of a fraud-prevention service. There are third-party verification firms such as Adloox , Forensiq and Simility that take a deep look at traffic sources to weed out potential fraudulent activity and publishers. This info can help you negotiate refunds from your advertising service providers, as well as prevent further fraudulent activity.

If you’re an SMB, Google Analytics can show you where your referral traffic is coming from, and you can comb through the data to try and evaluate fraud sources to block their traffic or remove them from your advertising plan.

Other recommendations can be found by visiting the  Alliance for Audited Media – a group that focuses on validating the audience of media properties

This is a major issue – expect to read much more about it in weeks to come.

Post by Jess Greiner