Proven Performance Media (PPM), owned by A.H. Belo Corporation, is driving significant revenue (seven figures) in new business for our publishing partners, leading with newspaper print ads. Yes, PRINT ads!

We do this by leveraging data insights, pay-per-action pricing models, and cross-platform campaigns to maximise advertiser performance. And it all started six years ago with a customer challenge.

The challenge is all too familiar to those of us in the newspaper industry: You have a meeting with your client to discuss their business. The client says: “We aren’t sure print is working. We are considering moving all of our print dollars to digital through our digital agency.” Translation: The small amount of digital dollars going to you are about to get reduced even further.

Recently when an important client said they were canceling their print because they didn’t know if it worked, The Dallas Morning News asked the question: “If we can prove it works, will you pay us on the sales we generate?” The client agreed, and it was the start of their pay-for-performance programme.

After years of successfully building the pay-for-performance business, The Dallas Morning News had a publisher ask if they would help them launch pay-for-performance in their market, and A.H. Belo launched PPM as a separate company.

Proven Performance Media is proving to key advertisers that print ads still offer critical reach at a great value, especially when used frequently as part of cross-media campaigns.
Proven Performance Media is proving to key advertisers that print ads still offer critical reach at a great value, especially when used frequently as part of cross-media campaigns.

PPM provides our publishing partners with a focused sales strategy, training, data integration tools, analysis, and support. PPM has added several client partners, and we’ve seen tremendous interest in what we do, especially in the data insights space. 

Our insights help advertisers better understand their audience, and help the publisher position their targeted media options with these clients. When we do our job well, clients see improved results in several of the publisher’s products and services.

We think like a start-up and put clients first. PPM constantly reviews, iterates, and pivots toward a better advertiser experience. Most of the advertisers are local businesses who are experts in their fields, and they expect the same or better in their partners.

Our insights help publishers bring best in class business intelligence to the local level. This also changes the conversation between publisher and advertiser towards solution-based discussions with actionable recommendations.

A pay-for-performance pricing structure is an opportunity for newspapers to leverage client data and demonstrate effectiveness of specific strategies, ultimately generating more revenue from print ads.
A pay-for-performance pricing structure is an opportunity for newspapers to leverage client data and demonstrate effectiveness of specific strategies, ultimately generating more revenue from print ads.

Thus far, we’ve learned three key insights along the way:

  1. Print newspapers still work. We run campaigns and see data from clients across platforms, and the newspaper is still a top producer in many categories.

  2. Cross media is a must! When an advertiser runs a cross-media campaign, they improve their overall results. For example, when an advertiser runs a search campaign with a print campaign, we see a lift in call volume and site traffic. A true 1+1=3.

  3. Frequency matters. We know it’s true in most media, but for some reason, print is expected to carry the weight of success with one ad. Over the past several years, we have seen optimal results when running three ads or more in one week. Which days are effective depends on the business.

While pay-for-performance isn’t an option for everyone, the data insights and our analysis have applications for all advertisers. What we offer can be summed up in three words: actionable business intelligence.