Thoughts On Selling the WWW.

Selling On-line Advertising For Newspapers

Posted by Dan Vigil on November 30, 2007


I’ve been off the radar for some time now but I’m back in the field working for a local newspaper. I didn’t plan on being here but when my new wife and I decided to start our own local journal, I just couldn’t figure out how newspapers make any money these days. What better way to learn, I thought, than to work for newspaper and learn their secrets.

Well, after 4 months selling print advertising I was moved into the interactive department and here I am selling the web again.

I was surprised to find that I actually enjoy the challenge. As it turns out, these local newspapers are sitting on a goldmine. Here’s a few nuggets I’ve picked up for starters.

1. CPM pricing only make sense to agencies:

Most businesses are still sold on “sponsorship” campaigns. Having their banner ad displayed in a particular section even if less people see it makes more sense to local businesses for branding although they are impressed by traffic reports.

It’s the agencies who are intent on gobbling up the impressions. And once they start buying CPM’s they start looking at CPC which often decreases as the ad gets stale on the site.

In my estimation CPM’s as a metric will be gone in 4 years. This is not news, the rise of “Behavioral Targeting” and web development apps which allow for the viewing of content without refreshing the page (widgets, Ajax etc.) have been on the rise.

2. Print Reps Are ill Equipped:

As a print rep myself for 4 months I found myself waiting in line to use a computer in the office, much less have a laptop to present on-line ads in the field. If newspapers are serious about interactive they need to get all their reps on-line and in the field with laptops. The sales management tools alone would improve production significantly.

3. There’s Money in Niche Markets:

On-line micro sites and special sections seem to hold great opportunity. They allow for ease of bundling with print products and advertisers are willing to pay more for the “intimacy of the content” (I actually stole that phrase from an article I read). We’ve seen $50 effective CPM rates on some recent niche sites we’ve launched.

4. Classified needs to make a decision:

I couldn’t believe how difficult it is to purchase a classified ad on-line when I got here. And even after months of multi-page suggestions working with several different vendors it seems we’re still struggling in this area. It’s no wonder the free class sites are kicking everyone’s behind. A decision needs to be made as to whether or not there’s a future in classifieds on-line for newspapers. Partnerships might be a better option.

The Word Is Alive!


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