Monthly Archives: September 2010

Newspapers Make Offer National Advertisers Can’t Easily Refuse?

By Sarah Billingsley, AWN Communications Director

This is a tough call.   Is this just another sign of the times, or have daily newspapers finally realized this may be the only way to gain some of the lost display ad revenue that has diminished so rapidly over the past decade?
According to Editor & Publisher last week, National Newspaper Network, the so-called marketing arm of the newspaper industry in this country, is offering a guaranteed “last ad free” to national advertisers if ad campaigns in their newspapers fail to reach 10% increase in sales volume.   Is this a throw-down challenge, or desperate attempt to gain any advertising using a more radical sales approach, and making it a public marketing initiative at the same time?

In my opinion, we devalue our products and our industry when we extend ourselves too far. There’s always a time and place for negotiation, but this seems to be a case of lowering expectations. Are newspapers taking too big a gamble?

Read more about this topic on E&P here.

Is LinkedIn Really All That Linked-in?

By Mark Hanzlik, AWN Executive Director

I’m glad someone finally called out the question.   Why isn’t LinkedIn getting the same buzz that Facebook, Twitter and others are getting?  Foursquare has only 3 million users and it’s already getting more buzz.

LinkedIn has reportedly 75 million users, so why the bad rap?   Maybe it’s because the LinkedIn network is not effective.   Of the many users who’ve set up accounts,  few are actually using it on a regular basis and some of its’ biggest features like “recommendations” are laughingly non-weighted.    Maybe I’m overstating what’s not so important to online users anyway, or maybe the LinkedIn idea has just not been executed well.

Brad McCarty posed these questions and offered some suggestions, but mostly he’s opened up the LinkedIn discussion on his post last week in TheNextWeb.

Doctor’s Orders for Publishers: Take One Tablet Before Bedtime

By Mark Hanzlik, AWN Executive Director

It’s a pretty simple scenario, and it’s been the cornerstone of newspaper publishing from the beginning.   Deliver to your audience.  If that group is using a tablet, that’s where we’re going.  But that’s not the only issue, the discussion really becomes more interesting when publishers begin to re-direct their focus in this direction and talk about ceasing the printing of their products entirely.

Tablets are not only a cheaper means of delivering product but it’s an immediate hosting place for breaking news, entertainment and discussion and the biggest advantage, it’s where audio and video converge as well.   If you look around, you’ll see more and more of those handy little screens in the hands of people next to you in airports, hotels, lunchrooms, etc. and the numbers will just continue to rise.

We’ve noticed a few stories recently (including the NY Times announcement “we will stop printing…at some point in the future”)  that reinforce this angle and open up this debate.   We thought it was time to add this discussion to our blog.

Here’s a link to a  RCWireless post today where they’ve invited an industry analyst to give his outlook on this hot topic.    What do you think?

Let’s Just Agree to Disagree

By Mark Hanzlik, AWN Executive Director
I’ve always thought the phrase “let’s just agree to disagree” though a bit too dismissive was a clever short-cut to smart business decisions or more universal solutions to issues that confront us in our daily lives.
But in the advertising biz, when I hear that similar refrain when referring to measuring online audiences, it makes me feel like I’m driving on icy roads with bald tires and no chains. The Web is the most highly measurable medium we’ve ever used, but the lack of clarity in measuring it is setting the stage for the largest research boondoggle ever.

Nielsen Research and comScore are both heading the charge, having announced their latest hybrid offerings (not talking about vehicles here) in a desperate move to improve their methodology on a very slippery Web road. Since there are no standards in the industry yet, it’s a free-for-all between traditional research companies and array of newcomers using all sorts of methods to report and compile data for advertisers to mull over as they cut loose more of their ad budgets in a digital direction. It seems like the numbers don’t really matter to advertisers, as long as they have them.

This blog was inspired by Lucas Graves’ piece Traffic Jam reported recently in Columbia Journalism Review. It is a very thought-provoking, thorough article on the subject and when he asks “how business gets done amid such uncertainty” I wonder that myself. For my money, I’m big on actual site analytics, despite the naysayers and those who claim the measured traffic is mostly non-human!