Albuquerque Journal regains edge with revamped classifieds, new app, real estate spin-off

By Joe Leong

The Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Innovation is at the center of what we do — it has to be.

At The Albuquerque Journal, we know that our industry continues to evolve and there are no magic bullets for any of us. We recognise that while we need to continue to nurture our core business, we also need to be bold and courageous to be responsive to our readers and advertisers.

With that in mind, we have launched several new innovations over the past year:

Print in Motion

We all know that classified advertising is declining. But instead of accepting it, we are fighting back. As a newspaper and industry, we have not invested in our classified areas (training, technology, etc.), so we wondered: Is the decline  due to our own neglect?

For us, the answer was yes. Instead of starting from scratch, we outsourced our classifieds to A Marketing Resource (AMR), which already had everything in place to succeed: a trained and professional sales staff, a deeply rooted sales culture, state-of-the-art technology, vast industry knowledge, and a consistent process for innovation.    

The new, digitally moving classified advertising portal at The Albuquerque Journal is interactive and modern.
The new, digitally moving classified advertising portal at The Albuquerque Journal is interactive and modern.


AMR took our traditional, grey, nine-column classifieds and moved them to a colour-rich, eight-column format. We added digital components to our ads, activating them with a “text to” feature. Once a customer sends the text, we respond with a link to a mobile-optimised Web site. Recognising that 90% of the population has a smartphone in their pockets, we built a link from our print product to their phone, and created interactive landing pages with multiple ways to bring print ads to life digitally.

We have literally built a new digital classified pairing to every print ad, making them an interactive medium with action that drives engagement, with features such as click-to-call, email, text messaging, Web site, pictures, and social media links.

Since May 2016, we have seen improvement from year-over-year revenue per ad decline of US$20, to year-over-year gains of over US$50 per ad — resulting in a positive swing of over $70 per ad. Our in-house department was averaging –24% year-over-year; Print in Motion reduced that average to –9% year-over-year, and we have realistically budgeted 2017 flat to 2016.


Our real estate tabloid made its debut inside of the Journal’s weekly Life in New Mexico section in May 2016. The magazine quickly took on a life of its own, becoming a stand-alone section in October with the entire edition online as well.

Editorial content for the section comes from local real estate professionals and includes commercial and residential industry insights, DIY projects, consumer tips, profiles on local companies and professionals, plus local market stats. features interactive search capabilities for MLS (multiple listing service of homes for sales) and open houses in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Published every Friday, more than 86,000 copies are distributed to Journal readers, with another 3,500+ copies delivered to grocery stores, real estate offices, and related businesses.

The magazine has seen tremendous success, averaging US$30,000 in revenue each month. We have budgeted over US$451,000 for 2017. This free listing service has helped increase traffic at open houses and solidified our relationships with local realtors and brokers all over New Mexico.

The Albuquerque Journal's exciting new mobile apps, classified advertising portal, and real estate magazine keep content on the cutting edge.
The Albuquerque Journal's exciting new mobile apps, classified advertising portal, and real estate magazine keep content on the cutting edge.

Mobile app design and development

The Albuquerque Journal worked with the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta team to create a new, official app for the one-of-a-kind, international event. By signing a multi-year deal, the Journal was able to present an app tailored to the event, which we can continue to tweak in the years to come.

We secured US$30,000 in sponsorships for 2016, with sponsorship opportunities of over US$50,000 for 2017. The apps debut was a rousing success, with more than 30,000 downloads and 130,000 sessions. The app features a high-resolution map of the event field with interactive search capabilities that guide the attendees through the sprawling event.

The “Find my car” function marked attendees parking spaces, and push notifications notified users about event status throughout the two-week fiesta. With nearly 1,000,000 attendees over nine days, the app proved immensely helpful.

Data analytics allowed us to give feedback to the Balloon Fiesta team to help organisers better plan for 2017’s Fiesta. For example, we had over 14,000 people use the balloon search function, with Darth Vader as the most-searched balloon.

About Joe Leong

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