Newspaper Advertising Benchmarks

The Newspaper Association of America undertook this study and highlights are presented.

Two hundred and eleven newspaper executives completed a survey in June of 2010. Participants represented different newspaper circulations and results were broken down into four groups: <25K, 25-50K, 50-100K and over 100K.

In the next month, Newspapers Canada’s Advertising & Marketing Committee and its Boards will consider whether a Canadian study is a priority.

Findings are as follows:

  • Top 50 retail accounts: Account for between half and three quarters of retail ad revenues (all newspapers).
  • Accounts handled/sale rep each month: Majority handle 25-49 active accounts. Smaller circulation means rep is more likely to handle 50-75 accounts.
  • Perc incentive pay for reps: Majority it is >40%. The larger the circulation, the less the incentive percentage (>100K circ, half earn <40% incentive pay).
  • Number of products rep sells: More circ = More products (<50,000, 7 to 10 products; 50-75K circ., 11-15 products, >100K circ, 15+ products).
  • Sell print and digital: Almost all sell both. But the larger the circ., the more likely the paper has digital only reps as well.
  • Management changes/tools: Web based training and restructuring the sales department has occurred across the board. Few papers have outsourced sales but it is more likely (31%) at large papers. For CRM, database marketing, downsizing ad department and self-serve ads, large circ papers are more likely to have embraced these tools (80-90%) while at the smaller papers only about a quarter have.
  • Print rate strategies: All are offering bundled pricing and remnant pricing (exception: half of papers with circ. <25K offer remnant pricing). Few (7%) auction off space (more, 19%, at >100K papers). Day of week and sectional pricing, in each case: half of the <100K and three-quarters of >100K papers offer. Shared risk pricing (such as pay per lead or pay per sale) is offered by about half of the larger (>50K) papers and 20% of 25-50K papers.
  • Revenues from online: On average, 5 to 9% of revenue sourced to online. The larger the paper the more online revenue (Papers <25,000 circ., half garnered less than 5% while half those >100,000 garnered 10-15%). Few (8%) earned more than 15% from online.
  • Digital pricing: All reported bundling, online up-sell and online only. Remnant and shared risk pricing more likely the larger the paper (remnant ~80% @ >50K circ; shared risk ranged from 5% to 28% at >100K circ.). Few (3%) auctioned inventory.
  • Digital offerings: Sponsorships and video have being offered at almost all newspapers. Newspapers >25K, the majority offer: search engine optimization, search engine marketing, e-mail, behavioural targeting, mobile applications, day-parting and demographic target (roughly 25% of circ.<25K offer these). Half offer social media (exception: <25K circ. only 20% offer this). E-reader advertising, 16% offer this (up to 26% for those with circs>50K).
  • Average CPM online display ads: CPM is quite varied from <$1 to >$12. Newspapers >25K cluster in the $9-10 range while the smaller papers are spread across all price ranges.