local media insider
Case Study

Green Tag Tuesdays Print-to-mobile program

Alisa Cromer

Company: Arizona Daily Star
Initiative: Green Tag Tuesdays
Key executive: John Humenik, President and Publisher; Chase Renkin, Advertising Director

A number of local media are bundling QR codes with small group ads, such as coupons, real estate and even auto. The Arizona Star's Green Tag Tuesdays, borrowed the idea from Red Tag program in Billings Montana, uses QR codes for people to access weekly print discounts, mobiley.

Every Tuesday, a page of QR codes entitled "Green Tag Tuesday" runs in the paper. The "tags" include an offer, merchant contact information, and a QR code that scans to a mobile landing page with click-to-call and a map. There are exactly 24 codes in an easy to manage, templated page, so the limited inventory gives program sales urgency and helps sell it out.


The company's programers created codes directly via Google; when a new offer is created the URL is entered into Google, the url, whose API returns the code back. However this is unecessary - QR codes are free or almost free (a top pick, QRstuff.com costs about $86 a year including analytics, which we highly recommend). Burns said the Google interface only required about 12 hours of programming. Each merchant can also place their ad - and the green tag - directly via their mobile phone, and is issued a QR code automatcially.

Sales reps have access to a dashboard to type their own offers, and can also bill the client from their mobile phone.

Bundling is key

Pricing for the scannable codes started out with Best of Winners getting two months free, otherwise advertisers paid $50 a week for the service. However the program is primarily sold in bundles that include:

*Four insertions in the paper in 7 days, including Sunday

*GreenTag Tuesdays coupon

*30,000 digital impressions.

Good, better, best packages merely vary the size of the ad and number of impressions.

While merchants were skeptical in the beginning, six months in to the program, the ads are sold out and rates have been increased. Testimonials have been good. Since it began running, Burns has also added a rep to sell the program. Google analytics shows that customers scan all week long, saving the page and scanning the codes can have a blip in the analytics on Friday.

Looking at revenues, at just $50 per ad per week for the Green Tag Tuesday's page, equates to $1250 for the page, for about $67,000 for the year. However with price increases and the upsell, we see this program will easily be generating in the low to mid-six figures. 

Like daily deals, Humenik says, "The key is the deal, first thing(reps) are doing is working with their clients to find great deals....the best part is our staff is understanding bundling."

Our take: As Chase Renkins and Humenik have noted here, the key is how well advertisers respond to bundled multi-media programs that include digital, mobile and print. We are seeing more of these in the works that also use video, or combine with blogs-as-a-service or reputation management tools, so that the merchant really gets a lot. See related reports on this site:

Five print strategies for QR codes

QR codes for radio and broadcast

Pro's and cons and do's and don't for QR code programs 

Bundling video/blog/print/QR code program sells $1 million in three months in Ontario, Canada

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.