Category Archives: Sales

Sales News, Accounts, Training

Alarming Stats About Banner Ads

From last week, here’s an interesting digital advertising post from Digiday about banner ads and the alarming facts about their many shortcomings.

Take your pick, there’s plenty of reasons for media buyers to change the nature of web advertising but there doesn’t seem to be too much movement away from the stalwart banner.

1. Over 5.3 trillion display ads were served to U.S. users last year. (ComScore)
2. That’s 1 trillion more than 2009. (ComScore)
3. The typical Internet user is served 1,707 banner ads per month. (Comscore)
4. Click-through rates are .1 percent. (DoubleClick)
5. The 468 x 60 banner has a .04 percent click rate. (DoubleClick)
6. An estimated 31 percent of ad impressions can’t be viewed by users. (Comscore)
7. The display advertising Lumascape has 318 logos. (Luma Partners)
8. 8 percent of Internet users account for 85 percent of clicks. (ComScore)
9. Up to 50 percent of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (GoldSpot Media)
10. Mobile CPMs are 75 cents. (Kleiner Perkins)
11. You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad. (Solve Media)
12. 15 percent of people trust banner ads completely or somewhat, compared to 29 percent for TV ads. (eMarketer)
13. 34 percent don’t trust banner ads at all or much, compared to 26 percent for magazine ads. (eMarketer)
14. 25-34-year olds see 2,094 banner ads per month. (ComScore)
15. 445 different advertisers delivered more than a billion banner ads in 2012. (ComScore)


Down to the Wire, 2012 Election

By Mark Hanzlik, Executive Director

Tomorrow is election day across the country and here in California we had anticipated a lot of advertising in play for congressional candidates and statewide initiatives, and there certainly has been.   Despite organizing a few sales planning conference calls and gathering a number of AWN publishers and sellers as early as July this year,  we had only seen one network-wide  political ad (in the form of a movie release favoring Mitt Romney)  until last week.    Since that campaign was battleground States only, California was not in play for the ads either.

But just before deadline, the Yes on Prop 37 initiative supporters booked a half page display ad in 17 AWN California publications from Eureka to San Diego on November 1.   The advertising was funded by the Committee For The Committee For The Right To Know and IRT Food Policy Fund.

Alec Binyon, GM @ Chico News & Review  sold the ad through a local connection in Butte County, working quickly to pull together the ad at the last moment.    Thanks for keeping other alt media publications in mind!


Political Ad Disguised as Movie Fare Delivers Revenue to 32 Alt Weeklies

By Mark Hanzlik, Executive Director

It seemed like a gift because it had been so long since we had seen a network-wide political ad of any kind.   Even the big election year of 2008 had brought very little advertising to AWN and many of its member papers.   That changed the last week of September when AWN Prez and Editor/Publisher of Newcity delivered a 32-paper,  well-timed political gift in the form of a full page 4-color film placement for Obama’s America 2016.

The film was clearly being distributed as marketing tool for Mitt Romney, pushing the film’s agenda in only Battleground States.  AltWeeklies in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin became the immediate recipients of the film ads.   Though we’re not certain where the funds for the ads originated, the St. Louis-based agency Content180 complied with prepayment for the entire campaign prior to October 1.    A number of alt weeklies also provided value-added online coverage for the campaign in the month of October.

Print ad version below.


San Francisco Bay Guardian For Sale

By Mark Hanzlik, AWN Executive Director

The public announcement of the impending sale of the San Francisco Bay Guardian was not a total surprise to some of us but the news arrived somewhat unexpectedly to many others this week.

The alt media stalwart known for its progressive politics and dominant coverage of the alternative lifestyle in the 6th largest market in the country has had a key role in the development and sustainment of this cooperative network.    So, it follows that we might have a comment or two to add.


It seems like I’ve always had a relationship with the Bay Guardian.   It began in the 70’s when I settled in San Francisco and became an avid weekly reader while living in the Haight and Western Addition.   I even tossed an ad or two their direction while buying media for ad agencies in the late 80’s.   I met Bruce Brugmann, the legendary publisher of the Bay Guardian at a C.N.P.A. conference around that time.  He was the towering figure buying drinks for everyone and bursting about his paper and his latest beef about the daily newspaper JOA’s.

The Bay Guardian‘s founders (Brugmann and Jean Dibble) played a role in creating CAL-AAN which enabled a head-strong consortium of California publishers and editors to share in the increasing commercial success of Alt Weeklies in the early 90’s.   When AWN began to reach across the country,   as a charter member, SFBG was often at the table.  Bruce was always there to cheer us on but remind us who the enemies were and he continues to do so today.

The Bay Guardian held several leadership roles with AWN and fielded numerous sellers nearly since AWN’s beginning in 1994.  AWN board members from SFBG through the years included Mike Ellerin, Scott Hassenflu, Nancy Hui, Jody Colley, Dan Brugmann and Bruce himself.   Hui and Mary Samson were perennial sellers for AWN.   Even AWN’s Communications Director Sarah Billingsley had a stint at the Bay Guardian before eventually settling in Sacramento.

DammitI still have a magnet on my refrigerator with Bruce’s visage.  My kids liked the slogan “Read my paper Dammit”  so we kept it around for another decade.

There were years when Brugmann was battling daily newspapers and other weeklies (well before New Times came to town and turned SF Weekly).   By the second half of the 90’s, national ads were dropping into their laps (and most other alt weekly newspapers).   Every sales chart had an upward trajectory and every discussion was about opportunity and development.

What occurred in the years since has been well-documented in this industry (Bay Guardian’s case against SF Weekly and New Times).  At the same time, the drab economy and change in the public’s consumption of media contributed to a steep decline in national advertising, and slower decline in local ad dollars for alt media.

Now, a dozen or so years later,  SFBG has a new home and ‘guardian’.    This is not an obit for the Bay Guardian, but more an acknowledgement of changes within our industry.   We anticipate little will be different between the SFBG and AWN in the short term, and we welcome the new ownership by The Examiner and Todd Vogt.  Bruce and Jean will continue to contribute in some form or another.   Thanks for your many years of support and cheer!

Love of Research Reveals a New Career for Alt Veteran Sarah Billingsley

By Mark Hanzlik, AWN Executive Director

I’m not sure what constitutes a veteran in the alternative newsmedia business, but I’m guessing Sarah Billingsley’s initiation at The San Francisco Bay Guardian in the 90’s qualifies. After 15 years of service to the alt industry including the last four years with AWN, Sarah announced her departure to pursue an opportunity with a Sacramento-based consumer research company.   The field of research was something she’s been working toward for some time.

When Sarah joined our company in February 2008, she had recently returned to college to finish her B.A., and then began work on her Master’s in Communication, all while chasing advertisers, orders, artwork and revenue for AWN publications.


Sarah warming up for another AWN day

For those of you who have shared a cocktail with her at AAN conferences, responded to her numerous email inquiries, or chatted with her on the phone, you may already know she is a great communicator.   Now in her absence, you’ll have the pleasure of communicating with our equally helpful support team (Lidia Stoian and Sheila Malone) or myself.

Sarah was an important player during a period of change for our company.   In 2010, we moved in with the Sacramento News & Review on Del Paso Boulevard and revamped our sales approach. Armed with a background in ad sales management, she enthusiastically took over the primary sales communications role for AWN.  Our list of active advertisers was still fairly sizable at that time, so Sarah recommended and we hired Cody Brill, our part-time Ad Coordinator. Last month, Cody also made a major career move as he landed a full-time ad coordinator post with a local business magazine.    The two of them made for a wonderful one-two punch in managing the sales process.

Sarah, who was an early adopter and devotee of social media also wrote many of our sales and media blogs over the past few years.    She also became our resident research expert for national alternative media data from The Media Audit that we managed on behalf of AWN.

So, if you’re looking for either one of them on the outside (not that working for AWN was a prison term folks), you’ll be sure to find Sarah or Cody easily on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the web.     In the meantime, we’ll simply remember how much we enjoyed their company while they were here with us, wish them well, and we’ll continue to look for new opportunities to market our brand.

Sarah’s alternative media timeline:

San Francisco Bay Guardian (1997-2001)

Independent Weekly (2001-2002)

Sacramento News & Review (2003-2008)

Alternative Weekly Network (2008-2012)