As traditional advertising revenues decrease, data-based strategies increase in importance

By Hans-Dieter Gärtner

Germany is a traditional print country with 350 individual owned newspapers with about 1,500 different editions.

Although a couple of newspapers have been sold to other publishers or disappeared from the market, the economic situation is still pretty good.

In the last five years, we have had a shift from two-thirds of the revenues coming from advertising to now 48% (subscription revenues have increased to 52% now). But publishers are earning good money (some of them have red figures, depending how they organised the business). 

One of the main reasons for the relatively stable situation is that the local and regional newspapers have a subscription-based business model where the subscription fee will be automatically deducted from the bank account – you don’t have to renew from time to time.

Of course circulation, reach, and advertising in print will go further down, and German publishers should be ready for the transition from print to digital in three years — at the latest.

In terms of the transformation from print to digital, Germany clearly is behind the Scandinavian countries. Especially in Sweden and Norway, the news media houses are much more advanced in their digital portfolio.

The good news for the old (print) country Germany is that ad effectiveness is still pretty high.

Here are the top strategies for the advertising department as we see them:

  1. Study at-risk advertisers.

  2. Improve specific business/industry categories.

  3. Demonstrate value to specific high-profile positions.

  4. Upsell size of ads with specific increases in number of readers.

  5. Look at specific advertiser target groups.

  6. Reinforce value to your best customers.

  7. Examine the power of a beneficial headline in relation to purchase consideration.

  8. Add relative questions to standard ad measurements through ad hoc.

  9. Show advertiser results across multiple platforms.

In one campaign for Toyota, for example, we showed the advertiser two ad prospects. Consumers surveyed said the following about the second ad (pictured above):

            • Benefits of the ad increased from 11% to 24%.

            • Thoroughness increased from 16% to 29%

            • Visits to the Toyota increased 9% to 14%.

According to the RAM database with more than 95,000 advertising tests worldwide, Germany is leading with 75% in terms of ad recall for full page ads, followed by Canada (55%), Sweden (53%), Norway (50%), and the United States (48%).

Even for a quarter page ad, the advertiser can expect an ad recall of 56% on average. Especially with long-term advertisers in print, we see an extremely high sender identification (75%) and previous knowledge of the advertiser (87%) when it comes to full page ads.

The overall impression of the ads is getting 50% for a full-page ad and 47% each for a half- and quarter-page ad. Ad recall very much depends on the size of the ad. A bigger ad has higher chances for recall. If the reader is looking into the ad, the other variables are not so dependent on the size of the ad.

If it comes to action, traditionally the results are lower. But according to the reach of the newspapers in Germany (still 71%), the absolute numbers behind the percentage of 21% “looking for more information,” 12% “visit Web site,” 23% “visit advertiser,” and 17% “have bought/will buy” are quiet impressive for full pages.

About Hans-Dieter Gärtner

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