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Monday, April 28, 2008

US newspaper websites take 27% local online ad share

Advertising sales on US newspaper websites are in good shape, according to a Borrell Associates survey of 3,000 sites in various-sized markets.

The survey, reported by Publicitas, found newspaper sites earned more than $2bn from local online ad sales in 2007, which gave them 27 per cent of the total local online advertising market and put them ahead of Yellow Pages and television sites.

"The largest newspaper websites achieved a majority of revenue from non-print advertisers for the first time, developing a broader base of customers to generate new revenue streams. The online-only advertisers accounted for 59 percent of the total ad revenue generated by newspaper sites."

Interestingly, "websites who employ at least one salesperson dedicated to selling online advertising averaged 87 percent more revenue than sites that relied solely on print representatives to sell online ads."

I've had a number of people tell me that print sales teams often don't yet understand the online ad space and miss opportunities to educate and enthuse clients on its merits. This survey suggests bringing in specialised online staff may be an interim answer. Any thoughts?


Paul Camp said...

Reps go where the money is. Local online may be growing for newspapers, but print is still where the big dollars and comparatively easier sales are. Every new product needs a champion. Online is a new product and will always receive short shrift from print reps who have a vested interest in the status quo. So it absolutely makes sense to have dedicated online reps with proper incentives as part of their compensation to spread the gospel of online advertising. The only alternative is providing significant extra incentives to print sales reps to make it worth their while to make online part of every sales conversation every time. And these incentives have to be generous, more generous than most newspaper organizations are willing to part with in these times of declining overall revenue.

Julie Starr said...

Thanks for you comment Paul. I like your point about print reps with a vested interest in the status quo having no incentive to make the shift to digital. And I agree completely that new products need champions. In this then, sales is little different to editorial or any other part of a media company.