3 innovative regional advertising ideas will boost publisher revenues

By Christian Scherbel


Berlin, Germany


It sometimes feels so much easier to think bold and build big projects in our minds that would only become a reality if we had unlimited financial resources, unlimited time, unlimited focus, and no distraction from our daily business.

But, as we all know, the reality is different, which why we often must watch out for the little innovations that move the needle — especially during the year.

But the good thing is there are several small, hands-on innovations out there other publishers have tested and worked very well, and that can inspire you and your sales teams as well.

Here are three regional advertising ideas that fit that definition.

Print-to-online bundles for inserts

Challenge: Clients book less frequently or only parts of the full circulation due to high paper prices.

Goal: Keep their full budget with the publisher.

Solution: Accept their partial booking in print (as your margins there are already lower) but extend the full budget (and more) into digital by offering to serve their ad in digital.

There is no overhead to turn their print insert into several product carousel ads for all IAB formats in digital plus a landing page that shows their insert as a flip page catalogue but that also includes additional call-to-actions.

There are above average click-through rates (CTRs) (>0.5% and activity rate is equal to that of the sliding of the carousel of up to 3%) with 98% of users on the landing page using the flip pages. This is proof of the relevance of the regional advertising to the reader.

Business model: Offer fixed ad bundles of 10,000, 50,000, or 100,000 ad impressions including the banner plus landing page creation on top of the (reduced) print booking to capture the full budgets from before the paper supply crisis — and even more. Roll this out to all insert customers including charities, financial institutions, real estate, and complex products in general.

An example of a banner on a Web site.
An example of a banner on a Web site.

This is what the order process looks like for advertisers using "smart inserts."
This is what the order process looks like for advertisers using "smart inserts."

Display ads but with “SEO power”

Challenge: Smaller clients — especially from print — start to book digital campaigns but KPIs of digital campaigns like CTRs are too cryptic and superficial for them to make them see the impact on their business and re-book at 80% to 100%.

Goal: Give smaller — less digital — advertisers a better understanding of the “band for their buck” by showing the advantages only the regional newspaper can offer: quality of traffic and the long-term branding effect of the regional campaign.

Solution: Create visual dashboards for all advertisers focusing on activity (how many people slide through the carousel ads), visible time of the ad (“attention CPM”), and dwell time on the landing page to underline the quality of traffic with very low bounce rates and high interactions compared to lots of social media traffic with almost 99% bounce rates.

Add a component to the high-quality “click” that only the newspaper can deliver by making the landing page of the client “temporarily permanent” with its own URL to be found on Google. This not only adds the pure ad impressions on the newspaper page to the range of services but also the visibility of Google. This is something which, even for the smallest advertiser, now has extra value.

Business model: Offer fixed ad bundles of 3,000 to 10,000 ad impressions for small print advertisers at US$49 to US$99 including banner plus landing page creation, prominent ad banderole on the regional homepage of the publisher, and a custom URL for the landing page on the newspaper URL that stays online for six to 12 months.

An example for an ad banderole on the regional home page of an advertiser.
An example for an ad banderole on the regional home page of an advertiser.

E-paper click-outs but with “style”

Challenge: E-papers are often a great source of reader revenue but not advertising revenue. Purely digital “interstitials” are often more complex to sell and the hundreds of print advertisers from the press newspaper are not monetised.

Goal: Build a universal digital advertising product for all advertisers from the printed issues that can be deployed sustainably to 80% to 100% of the existing advertiser base.

Solution: Upsell each and every printed ad with a “e-paper extension” as a forced bundle at around US$20 to US$100 (depending on variables like print prices and print sizes) that includes the existing print ad becoming “clickable.” This should not open up in a new app (browser) instead of the e-paper app, opening the home page, which has nothing to do with the current ad. Promise the advertiser its own landing page based on the print offer plus all materials to be found from the advertiser on its Web site, social media, and official profiles like Google Places.

This is what an e-paper click-out looks like.
This is what an e-paper click-out looks like.

Business model: Publishers offering the “simple” (or blunt) e-paper click out on the home page of the customer in a new app easily make six-digit new dollar revenues per year, but at the expense of low reader and advertiser satisfaction. With the landing page in the same app plus a reporting that then focuses on dwell time on this landing page (“attention”), we see US$100,000 to US$200,000 in extra revenue per title and per year.

About Christian Scherbel

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