If your morning ritual is anything like mine, it involves two things: lots of coffee and a newspaper. Unfortunately, these days that newspaper contains about as much information as a postcard. I can read through the entire paper before my coffee even stops steaming. So I asked myself “What the heck happened?”
MSN Money recently reported that according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, I happened. The report claims newspaper circulation dropped a stunning 71% in late 2008. Newspaper readers, believe it or not, are the reason print news is dwindling.
Since late 2008, daily papers seem to close, well, daily. Surviving print news media are slimming down to mere slivers of dull gray paper. In their ongoing struggle to stay afloat (or at the very least prove they should even exist) newspapers have scrambled to develop new business models. The technological shift from traditional news sources like papers and magazines has gone into overdrive and given them a run for their money (literally) in trying to develop new models that involve a heavier focus on the Internet. The companies that are having any success at all – mainly by not failing and becoming news themselves – have transitioned to the Web, which is exactly where their readers are.
Interestingly, it’s the readers, not the economy, who set the stage for this shift. It makes sense. Nearly everyone in the US uses the Internet daily. Most online news services are free and are updated in real time – streaming video, live blogging and so forth. Many are also aggregated daily by news sites like Digg.com and HuffingtonPost.com, thereby increasing readership.
Everything you read in a newspaper has already happened. There are no updates or late editions (those died years ago). New blogs pop up weekly, covering news stories from entertainment to local school board elections. Every base is covered by the Web. And when you have all that information literally at your finger tips, who wants to walk out to the curb to get a paper?
But aren’t we forgetting something? What are all the newspaper advertisers supposed to do?!
The short answer: diversify. Yes, the media is changing from print to Web faster than you can say “bankruptcy”. But information is available now more than ever before, just in a new format. And more importantly, people are still reading it. According to an article by the National Arts Journalism Program, online audiences for news sites are “soaring”. The article cites the following growth for some of the nation’s most-read daily papers:
- NYTimes.com — 20,461 — 45.1%
- USATODAY.com — 12,314 — 19.4%
- washingtonpost.com — 9,902 — 14.6%
- Wall Street Journal Online — 6,962 — 81.4%
- LA Times — 5,715 — 4.7%
Figures like these prove that just because people are reading fewer printed papers it doesn’t mean they’re not still interested in the information. The same audience is out there, waiting to be reached. Readers are more available and more easily targeted when they’re searching for topics that interest them on the Internet. It’s just up to advertisers to adapt to the new surroundings.
So, advertisers are forced to seek new and innovative ways to present ads on the Web in banners ads, text ads, page sponsorships, links and getting featured on sites like Digg.com and Facebook.com. Perhaps the biggest benefit for advertisers on the Web is there are so many different types of ads for one medium. Print is just an image. TV is a commercial. The Web is continuously evolving, measureable and trackable.
According to the same MSN Money article, in three years 50% of all ad revenue for news outlets will come from online ads. Right now there’s a great opportunity for businesses that operate locally, like career schools, realtors and so forth to start advertising where the readers are looking. The main benefits here are in the ad’s real-time measurable results. Hits, clicks and site traffic can all be tracked and measured against goals in a much faster way than traditional print advertising allows. And if a campaign isn’t working advertisers know sooner, saving money and time in developing a new approach. Advertisers have more locations and sophisticated options than ever before to get their messages out on the Web.
Gragg Advertising takes initiative in transitioning clients from traditional advertising to the Web. Our clients depend on us to maintain their advertising reach in the face of these challenges. That’s why for the past few years Gragg Advertising has been ahead of the curve in recognizing and adapting to the new trends in online advertising. We constantly promote new measurable, trackable, innovative and successful online advertising initiatives that involve all aspects of the Internet, from email, to ads, to press releases, to social networking. Thanks to our innovation, Gragg Advertising’s career school clients receive the most accurate data on all their Web campaigns.