Tracking Publication Performance Results

MediaBids publications’ results come from several sources of raw data sets.  On a monthly basis, we collect the reports from the various places, align the data, reformat it, clean it up, and tally the results before uploading the final monthly results to our site for publishers.

What kinds of results are there?

We have three types of campaigns, but they can be a mixture as well. 

              Per Call – paid on the phone calls

              Per Sale- paid on verified sales

              Per Lead- paid on collected customer contact information

Per call campaigns, our most popular type, base the payable result on call criteria.  Typical call criteria are: call length, calls during business hours, calls within a region or zip code, and or calls that press a number to reach an operator.  Most advertisers want a caller to be on the line for one to two minutes before they consider the caller legitimate.  The Invoca platform allows us to disqualify calls which fall outside of the advertiser’s call center hours, but not all require that feature if they are collecting the callers’ numbers and calling them back.  Calls can also be qualified by a key pressed zip code or simply by the caller’s the area code, and or their exchange.   Phone numbers consist of 4 parts:  the 1-digit country code, a 3-digit area code and 3-digit central office or exchange code and a 4-digit subscriber or extension number.

Per Sale campaigns are actual sales.  Sales are determined by the advertiser and we receive monthly reports of sales for our publications.  Some of these will be set on a percentage of the sale and others are a flat rate.

Per lead campaigns are those where a customer’s details are collected during a call or via a landing page.  These are Web Leads and Post Backs.  Some advertisers use URLs/QR codes in their ads which send readers to an online lead form which collects their information on behalf of an advertiser, and then that lead information is automatically sent to the advertiser as raw data.  Those lead forms are part of the backend of the Mediabids.com system. We built and house many of the lead forms in the ads, while other leads are gathered and stored on the advertiser’s site, which then sends us as a post -back notification of a lead conversion.

Some campaigns use some deeper tech and robots listen to calls for key words that trigger a “sale”.  These are called Signals.  We use these on Omaha Steaks and on Physicians Mutual Dental.  HIPPA laws prevent recording calls for some campaigns, like the dental campaign, which is why robot ears are a fitting option for counting calls where a person took the step to sign up for the insurance.

When are final reports ready/available?

Monthly reports are available on about the 3rd business day of the month. Sometimes we run into obstacles like a big advertiser running late with their reporting to us.  Rather than report incomplete results, then report stragglers as they come in, we wait to send one complete report.  When they are complete, an automatic email is sent to all publications with active ads. 

What’s in the monthly report?

The emailed report will show you top performers and the total due to you, but if you want more information, you can hit the link in the email to the full report or log on to your account to see how much each of your active ads generated.  The reports are downloadable to excel as well.  Full reports show the monthly total, each active ad, how many qualifying responses it had and the total amount generated for each ad.

Why are my weekly totals not matching this monthly report?

Publications are emailed weekly automated traffic reports for their ads.  The automated reports give call counts and result counts for basic pay per call campaigns.  The weekly reports do not however take into account the per sale results or web-based results.  They also do not take into account the hiccups that come from phone numbers being hit with the latest SPAM.  Your monthly reports contain final payable total results. 

How do you know what calls are for my publication?

Your ads contain unique identifiers, mostly phone numbers and in some cases URLs and they are procured just for your publication.  We rent each phone number for the publications and the URLs are given unique codes from our advertisers.  These are both tracked back to your publication.  We rent phone numbers in bulk from the Invoca platform, which was somewhat recently bought by Salesforce.  The Invoca platform is integrated via API with our own custom platform which is a continually evolving system established more than 20 years ago by our inhouse developers lead by our forever CTO John Carril. Much like Invoca, our technology grows and reacts to the ever-changing requirements of the industry as a whole. . 

What is done about junk calls or SPAM, does it affect my results?

The leads are the easiest place to spot spammers.  It’s unclear what they get out of it, but you can always count on some bot or person submitting a bunch of leads with details like:rcvbe7632rwihngdvm.  Our technology inspects incoming leads requests for a variety of indicators and filters most SPAM/BOT generated leads before they even enter our system. However, the few that manage to slip by our defenses are then hand removed.  The calls that are spam are blocked by a few methods.  Some have an IVR which requires callers to press a random number to reach an operator, another asks for a zip code, and many spam calls only last 21 seconds so they never reach the qualifying call length.  There are from time to time, publications that attempt to rack up results illegitimately too.  We don’t want to give anyone ideas, but we’ve seen and delt with some sketchy people.  They are quickly delt with and removed from our system.  For all the legitimate calls, the tech built into Invoca automatically tags a call as payable if it meets the criteria as a result.  Criteria like: call length, did they press1, are they calling within the region, did they call during business hours, have they called in the past 30 days and already qualified as payable.  When the automatic spam blockers are breached, we look closer and may listen to the recorded calls. 

What details about a call are collected by the call platform?

Call Start TimeTime stamp for the time of call EST
Call Record IDUnique call id
SourceThe phone number in the ad
Promo Number DescriptionYour Ad number in our system
Original PublisherYour publication
Original Publisher ID (From Network)Your publication’s ID in our system
Call Segment PathAdvertiser
Final CampaignAdvertiser’s preferred end point for your call, can be by region or by type of ad (classified vs display
Total KeyPressesWhat numbers did the person press during the IVR process
Destination Phone NumberWhere the call is connecting to
Total DurationHow long the person was on the line total
Total Connected DurationHow long the person was on the line and connected to the system
Total IVR DurationHow long a person waits in an IVR to get to an operator
PaidAmount you get paid for the call
Payout ConditionsThis tells us which qualifiers were not hit to make a call payable
CityCity
RegionState/Provence
Repeat CallerThis is how we know if the caller has called in the past
Caller IDThe caller’s number
Phone TypeCell or landline
Signal NamesThis is where custom signal can be added to automatically tag a call based on what robots hear on the call
End of Call ReasonSometimes a caller hangs up, sometimes the call center does
RecordingA recording of the call, if applicable.

What kind of information can MediaBids derive from the data?

We have a great deal of information at our fingertips.  Advertisers have access to all their call data.  Publications can see how many calls they have had and how many converted to a payable result.  But if you look at that long list of attributes we have for phone calls, and then add to that the list of attributes we have about publications, there really is quite a bit of data we work with.  Publication attributes include things like: circulation, location, distribution, format and frequency.  But there are also attributes for the individual ads you request like: size, color, start date, ad type (classified, display).  On the advertiser side, attributes are things like: category or audience and industry.

Most publications have multiple versions of an ad and run what works for their space.  Because we do not stipulate when or how often a publication should run an ad, some statistics can become best guesses.  For instance we can guess that a publication ran an ad on a day where their phone number had call activity.  But depending on the ad and the publication, running an ad doesn’t necessarily mean calls are generated.  We also do not know which size/color ad a publication ended up running. 

We all depend on publications having a strong presence in their communities.  We depend on readers being compelled to take action by calling an ad they are interested in.  MediaBids constantly works to ensure that advertisers are doing their part to hook readers and pay top rates for the business brought their way.

Not already registered with MediaBids? We’d love to work with you! Reach us at Mediabids.com, info@mediabids.com or call 860-379-9602.

How Many Ads from MediaBids Should I Use?

If you are reading this and you are a MediaBids registered user, hopefully you are familiar with how our system works. MediaBids gives publications the opportunity to choose which of our available advertising campaigns they want to run – at will.

The main reason we do this is that we believe that no one knows their audience better than publications and we want you to have the chance to choose which response-based ad you believe will be most effective with your readers. For that reason, we give publications lots of choices on the MediaBids.com site, which leads to the question – how many of the available ads should each publication use?

Here is what we hope publications do not do: choose every ad you may possibly want to use in the future all at once and then not use them. This is a recipe for confusion because neither you nor MediaBids understands what is running and therefore it becomes impossible to determine whether something is underperforming because it is not a good fit with your audience, or not getting results because it is just not being used.

MediaBids’ goal is to enable publications to make money from response-based ads. So, here is how we believe you should think about the usage of ads. Instead of requesting ads just because you think that you may have the chance to use them in your publication, we recommend the following strategy: Start by using three ads from MediaBids and try ads that are in different sectors. For example, you may want to start by using one ad in the home improvement area, another ad for a product focused on seniors and a third that is a seasonal ad. Try each for three insertions and then look at the results, cut the ones that are not generating enough revenue for you, keep the ones that are and add advertisers who are likely to appeal to the same readership group that is responding to the ads that are doing well.

Using this strategy, you can systematically test what your readers want.

If your publication already has our ads, take a look at your monthly reports from MediaBids and see which of the ads are generating revenue. Start by running the successful ads on a set schedule and then eliminate any of the ads you have that are not living up to your revenue expectations. Using this method, work through the ads you already have, eliminating the ones that underperform and increasing the run frequency on the ads that are working. Then, when you have a core group of advertisers that are working, you can think about adding into your rotation one or two ads at a time, testing them and determining if they live up to expectations.

Let us know if you would like to discuss how many ads you should use or anything else about MediaBids’ per-response program, call us at 860-370-9602 or visit our website www.MediaBids.com.

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Should I Only Run Campaigns with the Highest Payouts?

If you are considering which per-response ads to run and are only looking at the payout, you are missing the bigger picture. Considering price and demand are equally important factors when picking ads and will yield more revenue for your publication.

Factors to consider:

Is the product being advertised right for your audience?

How many of your readers are likely to need and afford the product or service being offered in the ad? Is the product universal? Is it useful only for homeowners? Is it something for a specific age group?  We have several categories of advertising campaigns, but our most lucrative are: Senior Home Improvement, Food, Senior Health, Telecom and Employment etc. Travel has been on again off again.  Who is reading your publication and what do they want/need? What can they afford?

Is the payout made on a sale or on a call? 

The payout on an ad, is a term we use to describe the amount that an advertiser is willing to pay for a measurable event. For many per-response campaigns, a payable event is a phone call that lasts longer than a defined minimum time-period. Other campaigns are per-sale, which means that a payment to a publication happens when a consumer makes a purchase using one of the tracking items in an ad.

Why are payouts so different?

There is an enormous difference in the payouts that are offered in per-response campaigns, they can range in price difference from single digits to hundreds of dollars per response. Usually, what determines how much is being paid is the cost of the thing that is being sold. If a product is very expensive, the anticipation would be that the product would have a higher payout. However, the same factors that allow an advertiser to offer a higher payout also inhibit overall response. In other words, very expensive items or services are less likely to receive a high volume of response than lower price offerings, this is just economics and not unique to newspaper advertising.  

How much is the payout per qualified response?

Response programs pay a per response rate, but the more response you receive, the more money is earned.  If a very high payout item receives no response, it doesn’t matter how much it pays because no money will be earned. Therefore, it will generate more revenue to pick a campaign that is going to get solid response at a lower rate, than a campaign that is going to pay get little response at a higher rate.

Understandably, the first thing that many publications look at is the payout.  Naturally, it would be nice if there were campaigns that were both very high price and very high volume and, occasionally, we do find these. However, when considering which campaigns to run, don’t just look at the price.

If you would like to discuss how to choose which campaigns to run, please call us at 860-379-9602 or visit www.MediaBids.com.

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Are Your Ads Not Generating the Response You Want? Some Solutions

So, you are running ads from Mediabids in your publication but your response is not what you had hoped? This is a frustrating problem, but there are some steps we can take to try to correct things.

First, ask yourself if the product or service being advertised is really a good fit for your readership. Sometimes publications choose ads from Mediabids because they like the payout, or like how the ad looks but are not paying attention to the single most important thing, which is do your readers want what is being advertised? There are several things to consider – is the price something that they can afford? Is the product or service being advertised relevant to your area and your readership’s needs? Generac Home Generators is a great campaign, but if your publication is in an area where the power never goes out, it probably won’t do very well.

Second, are there other parts of your publication where you can use the ad? Different people seek different types of content and it might be worthwhile to try the ad in a place where a different group of people, who are more likely to respond, might be looking. Classified sections, a TMC product, or on your website are all examples of sections within your publication that attract distinct audiences.

If you feel confident that the ad is right for your audience and it still is not getting results, then we have a different type of problem and the answer might be trying a different campaign. It is ok to switch campaigns and not every ad works in every publication, sometimes for reasons that are very hard to identify. By changing the ads you are running and observing the results that they generate, you can better identify what resonates with your audience. So to do this effectively – watch the weekly reports of your results that Mediabids sends and then at the end of the month, review your results carefully. If you are running an ad and it isn’t working, let’s try something different. The goal of Mediabids’ program is to make your publication money.

If you would like suggestions or to review the ads you are currently running, please contact us at www.MediaBids.com or 860-379-9602.

Free MediaBids’ PowerHour: 3 Critical Questions Every Ad Sales Pro Must Answer

Join media/advertising sales expert Ernest F. Oriente, the founder of PowerHour, LLC ,the live weekly PowerHour Advertising Sales Academy and Jedd Gould, CEO of MediaBids for a free MediaBids Powerhour on Thursday, Oct. 13,  at 1 p.m. Eastern/New York time focused on “3 Critical Questions Every Ad Sales Pro Must Answer.”

To Register for Free, Click Here: https://www.mediabids.com/m/t/teleseminar-registration

During this 60-minute MediaBids PowerHour we will discuss the points below plus field your specific questions:                                                                                                                                                           

  1. Who reads your publication? Who visits your website?
  2. What do your readers buy?
  3. What is a new customer worth to your advertisers


Registration Information
=================
When:  Thursday, October 13 Please note, the above MediaBids PowerHour starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/New York/Toronto time, which is:

12:00 p.m. Central/Dallas/Winnipeg time
11:00 a.m. Mountain/Denver/Calgary time
10:00 a.m. Pacific/San Francisco/Vancouver time
9:00 a.m. Alaska time
6:00 p.m. GMT/London time

Fee:  No charge

Recording is available after the MediaBids PowerHour, but you must register below to receive it.

To register, please click here.

For additional registration information, please contact MediaBids.com at 800-545-1135 or E-mail jpeterson@mediabids.com


How Are Phone Numbers Used to Track Results of Ads in Newspapers and Magazines?

Featured

by Vicki MacDonald, MediaBids

You might be wondering how a phone number can be used to determine how many people respond to a print ad. This brief article explains how unique phone numbers in ads can be used to track response.

First, it is important to understand that any advertised phone number can be routed to any other destination number. For example, a phone number for a local business can be routed to ring at a call center across the country, or a cell phone, or a land line hanging on the wall of that business. Think of an advertised phone number as a transparent entry point into a phone system, the number that a customer dials does not necessarily have any geographic relationship to where it rings.

The most common way to use phone numbers in print ads is to advertise using a unique phone number to determine how many people have called from each individual ad. This is possible because when a call is made and then transferred, the initial number called is able to gather and retain data on the call and caller. What this means is that by placing a phone number in a print ad and then routing it to a customer, the data associated with that call is available to the owner of the phone number in the ad, even though it rings somewhere else. Using this technique, it is easy to see how many people called an ad, how long they spent on the phone, the geographic location where the call originated and which party hung up the phone first.

Here are some things to watch when using numbers to track results:

  1. Is the transfer of the call from the advertised number to the destination occurring seamlessly?
    1. In most cases this is not an issue, but occasionally the transfer from the advertised number to the destination number can result in problems. Any glitch, static or pause can dramatically impact the results generated from an ad because callers are likely to abandon a call with poor quality or that doesn’t sound right.
      1. Our suggestion (and this is what we do at MediaBids): test the number before it is in use. Try it from a cell phone and a land line. Get someone from a different geographical area, using a different phone carrier, to try it too. If you aren’t getting a clean and instantaneous transfer, don’t use the number and contact your number provider for a solution. 
  2. Is the phone number that is being used “clean?”
    1. One big mistake that is often made when a phone number is being used to track results is assuming that just because the number is no longer in use by anyone else, no one else is calling it. For example, the number placed in an ad may have been in use for a long period of time by another business. For all you know, a plumbing business may have handed out thousands of refrigerator magnets with your tracking number on it. Just because the plumbers no longer use the number does not stop anyone with a clogged sink from calling it. This creates problems when tracking results generated by an ad because obviously, unless you want to unclog sinks, the callers are not going to be interested in what is being advertised.
      1. Our suggestion (and this is what we do at MediaBids): It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to secure a never-before-used number. Anytime you get a number, ask for the phone records of all calls that have come into that number for 30 or 60 days prior to your intended start date. If you see that the number is getting calls from prior use, you should not use it. Those calls are unlikely to stop. Most phone number providers will disclose how long they rest a number before recirculating it but regardless of how long the number has been out of circulation, we recommend checking how many calls it is still receiving before you start using it.
  3. How do I acquire a phone number to use in an ad?
    1. There are many providers of phone numbers and what differentiates providers is often the way in which they display the data that is generated by a phone call. You can get a trackable phone number from a local phone company but it is unlikely to come with any access to a dashboard that allows you to see the results in real time.
      1. Here are a few telephone number providers we can recommend:
        1. Invoca ( www.invoca.com ) This is the company we use at Mediabids for all of our phone numbers. They have an excellent dashboard available for viewing results.
        1. Others worth considering are: Ringba ( www.ringba.com ); Retreaver (www.retreaver.com); and Call Source (www.callsource.com)

If you would like more information, or have any questions we can assist with, please email vmacdonald@mediabids.com

Generating First-Party Data from Print Ads

A topic on many marketers minds these days is how to overcome the challenge of a “cookie-less future” – some of the most popular ways to acquire and leverage third-party data will soon be no more. The good news? There’s still a trusted, proven way to generate super high-quality FIRST-party data for your brand AND set your ads apart from the competition – PRINT ADS in newspapers and magazines.

How? With some thoughtful touches to print creative, each response to an ad can provide valuable customer lead data. If you are able to take inbound calls, overlay a unique phone number from a vendor like www.invoca.com or www.retreaver.com and you can receive unique information about each caller – from demographic info all the way to explicit conversation intelligence that maps out their behaviors and preferences. If you create a unique lead form or web page to feature in the print ad, prospects can opt-in to provide you with personal information to add to your database. Tools like www.unbounce.com can make it easy to create landing pages on the fly with form submissions that are importable to most CRMs.

Newspapers and magazines still provide a valuable brand awareness opportunity, but as a direct-response channel they are more measurable than ever before. Print ads that MediaBids placed in 2021 generated over 200,000 qualified leads for our advertisers. Print readers respond; print readers are your next new set of customers.

Free Upcoming TeleSeminar Event – Deeper Relationships with Media Buyers

Join media/advertising sales expert Ernest F. Oriente, the founder of PowerHour, LLC ,the live weekly PowerHour Advertising Sales Academy and Jedd Gould, CEO of MediaBids for a free MediaBids PowerHour on Thursday, February 24,  at 1 p.m. Eastern/New York time focused on “Deeper Relationships with Media Buyers”.

Register for free here:

https://www.mediabids.com/m/t/teleseminar-registration

Details are below for our 298th free educational PowerHour, since 1995.

Here is a short video to watch, tied to the upcoming teleseminar below:

During this 60-minute MediaBids PowerHour we will discuss the points below plus field your specific questions:

  1. What are the 17 most important ways to expand your relationships with your current media buyers?
  2. How can your current media buyer relationships helps you sell more new advertising with prospective media buyers?
  3. Why do the relationships you form/build with your media buyers, help you out-run and out-sell your direct media competitors?


As prep for #2 above and to continue this discussion with ad sales leaders from around the world, please join our flagship LinkedIn group, Advertising Sales Success—with 4300+ leaders on this url: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2379105/

You can register here.


Registration Information
=================
When:  Thursday, Feb. 24 Please note, the above MediaBids PowerHour starts at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/New York/Toronto time, which is

12:00 p.m. Central/Dallas/Winnipeg time
11:00 a.m. Mountain/Denver/Calgary time
10:00 a.m. Pacific/San Francisco/Vancouver time
9:00 a.m. Alaska time
6:00 p.m. GMT/London time

Fee:  No charge

Recording is available after the MediaBids PowerHour, but you must register below to receive it.

To register, please click here.

For additional registration information, please contact MediaBids.com at 800-545-1135 or E-mail jpeterson@mediabids.com

Celebrating “First Amendment Day”

Happy (Belated) First Amendment Day to our publishing partners! Thank you for the essential work that you do. “The five freedoms we celebrate on First Amendment Day protect the fundamental ways we participate in society and in democracy:


1.) Praying and worship — or not — in accordance with our own beliefs;
2.) Speaking our minds, even — and especially — when we disagree;
3.) ******Publishing news, opinions, ideas and information, including to hold those in power accountable********
4.) Gathering peacefully together to amplify our voices;
5.) Bringing problems to government representatives and suggesting solutions.”

Link to read more about the importance of this holiday – https://www.freedomforum.org/2021/09/15/perspective-first-amendment-day-is-a-reminder-we-get-to-have-a-say/

Many Independent Newspapers Across the US Striking the Right Balance of Local News Coverage + Revenue Streams

The Falmouth Enterprise, Inquirer and Mirror and The New Haven Independent are just a few examples of publications with loyal local readers and successful financial models in the current media landscape. The right combination of print, digital and circulation revenue help support platforms that provide valuable news coverage at the community level.

“People will support local journalism that’s high quality,” said Bass. “I think we’re seeing the beginnings of the rebirth of local journalism.”

Read the full story here: https://provincetownindependent.org/while-chain-owned-newspapers-struggle-many-independents-thrive/