Free Digital Marketing is What’s Really Hurting Local Newspaper Ad Sales

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If you’re involved with retail advertising and you’re spending most of your time, money and effort helping your dealers spend money on newspaper advertising you should rethink your strategy.  Look at this chart from a blog post at Reflections of a Newsosaur.

From the blog post:

Thus, print sales in the first half of this year plunged 25 times faster than interactive revenues grew, notwithstanding the so-called “digital first” strategy – whatever that means – articulated by almost every publisher and editor.

It’s not that people aren’t buying digital advertising.

In the first three months of this year, total ad sales across all digital media in the United States climbed 15% to a record $8.4 billion,according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, an industry-funded trade organization.

In the very same period, however, interactive ad sales at newspapers rose only 1.0% to $816 million, capturing a mere 9.7% share of the market. As discussed previously here, newspapers controlled as much as a 17% of the digital ad market in 2003 and had a respectable 15% share of sales as recently as 2007.

I think it’s even worse that this if you get away from the old paradigm of comparing print ad sales to digital ad sales.  Most of the action today is in media and on sites that don’t charge a dime for publication costs.  Many of the local retailers I talk to aren’t just moving from paid print to paid digital, they’re rapidly moving from paid print to FREE digital.  Sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus and a dealer’s own site are taking up much more of their time and effort today.

Free digital should be a big part of your local marketing efforts and should make you rethink your co-op rules and how your ad builder works to help your dealers reach today’s consumer.

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