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Online advertising: Success or failure?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by I Should Coco, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    For a long time, we in the newsroom ("revenue spenders, not earners" as an ad department director once called us) have been led to believe online ads would save our jobs/companies.

    "Online readership is where the growth is, so advertisers will want to go there," we were told at countless staff meetings.

    Then I read reports like this, about McClatchy's latest woes, which includes a decline in both print and online advertising revenue:


    Granted, the article notes that standalone digital ad revenue (ads not packaged with ones that run in the paper) were up 9 percent in the past quarter. However, very few advertisers are willing to go online-only, so that increase is dwarfed by the 10 percent overall decline in ad revenue.

    So, my question to other SportsJournalists.comers: Why isn't Internet-based advertising doing better?
  2. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    I don't understand. On one hand, they're saying that standalone digital ad revenue is up. On the other hand, they're saying very few advertisers are willing to go online-only. The two statements seem contradictory to me.
  3. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    A big reason for what seems a contradiction could be due to the ad sales staff.

    At our shop, the longtime reps are so used to selling the virtues of print ads, they don't try to push the online ads.

    Then we have a couple younger reps hired specifically to sell web site ads (or our new "Get It" campaign to put coupons/special offers on mobile devices). But in the territorial world of the ad department, these younger/online reps get the long-shot calls, while the vets get the more-likely-to-buy advertisers.
  4. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think a big part of the problem is a lot of the community businesses so quick to buy newspaper ads in the past are not fully mobilized as digital companies.
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Most digital ad campaigns by the local rag are ineffective. You see a lot of "see our print ad on the Web"-type ads. Some use keywords, but the ad staff doesn't do a great job selling that type of ad to potential advertisers.

    Newspapers likely have to clean out a significant number of older ad reps because they are ineffective at selling digital ads.
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    It's funny how people in this thread seem ready to kick old ad people out the door, but if the same idea is brought into the newsroom, people clam up and get defensive.

    I don't think cleaning house of print ad salespeople is the way to go. I think refocusing on digital projects and coming up with ways to explain them to typical local advertisers is more important. Being young doesn't make you any better at doing that.
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You have to understand the technology to sell it. If older reps are able or willing to do it, they should get a chance.
  9. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    I am just wondering why the newspaper business is having such a hard time getting and sustaining advertisers online when other outlets like IGN, Gawker etc are growing and sustaining on internet only advertising as well as specific "Pay Wall" and Insider programs. I know, that it probably has to do with the staff count being much higher on a news operation then entertainment, video games and other outlets. But, do you not think, that they could learn from them? Seattle PI.com seems to be doing a pretty good job at it as far as I can see.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Never assume a place is turning a profit.

    When others have made the case that "You have to understand the technology to write for it," it's drawn severe consternation. I think a lot can be said for the ability to sell (or write) and experience doing so. But just as we are still training ink-stained wretches on how to blog and tweet, we need to take initiative in training print ad reps on how to market and sell online advertising. The difference, of course, is that online readers want to be online readers, that's why they're reading online. Print advertisers may not understand the benefits of online advertising or even, in some cases, have websites to advertise.
  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Versatile makes some strong points about the value of older ad reps (and reporters!) ... they know the community and have established longstanding relationships with business owners/advertisers. If those folks can be trained on the advantages of online advertising -- and convince their long-term clients of those advantages -- they can perhaps obtain online ad revenue that the "young guns" can't.

    Also, just for kicks, I pulled up my shop's homepage to see exactly what ads are there:

    • Two prominently-placed ads for local real estate offices
    • Two ads from rival casinos in the region
    • An annoying pop-up ad for Papa Murphy's Jack O'Lantern pizza.
  12. sportsnut

    sportsnut Member

    I am just saying two of the biggest online destinations for entertainment coverage is owned by a company that also owns mainstream media outlets. UGO.com and IGN.com owned by Hearst and News Corp. I am just thinking, if they can do it with these outlets why can't they do it with mainstream news?

    But, I agree with the old advertising reps not really having a the knowledge to sell online ads and for advertisers it should be a given as they can get knowledge about the ad working much quicker then with traditional print advertising.

    Does anyone know, how the Seattle P-I is doing in regards to revenue, staff, coverage etc?
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