local media insider

When clicks are not enough - i.e. most of the time


It still surprises me how many local media sites fail to offer conversion tools to digital advertisers.

What are you waiting for?

Even advertisers in love with their web sites don't always get excited over a few dozen clicks. Or even a scintillating CTR of .24%. My sources often sound apoligetic when relaying the puny post decimal number that indicates  a terrific, high performing campaign: "That's actually a decent number."

Of course we work on setting up advertisers expectations (a click is an action, kind of like a walk in, right?) But merely pointing out that anything above .04% click through in a banner ad is a success, can just devalue banner advertising as a viable platform in general.

Show the real value by capturing the more significant "next" action.

Turning a three month campaign in to a 12 month campaign can be as simple as tracking results and remarketing the now-proven strategy (often to even more highly targeted, and therefore valuable, audience).

Advertisers are also more likely to support proven converting campaigns with premium media buys; the sales managers who submitted "Winning Ads" for this site for example, all reported that their campaigns re-signed into annual contracts.

For these accounts, advertising is no longer a kind voodoo they turn to when they "feel" aggressive and pull back "when money's tight," but a way to achieve a measurable result.

Conversion-tacking does not drive cannabalism of broadcast-style media (and I include print here) but expansion of overall revenues: If 10% of a typical three month advertisers re-upped for the year, that is a 30% lift in total revenues. Pointing out how little overlap (only 30 to 40% for many print companies) there is between offline and online audiences also gives advertisers a great reason to expand winning programs on multiple platforms.

This is a mission critical formula for transforming companies, but surprisingly not often accounted for in business models (big print/broadcast dollars down, small digital dollars up, gap inbetween).

This week, we are running a very basic how-to article on conversion tracking and lead gen capture tools every local media should have at this point, here. 

You'll get a quick list of common vendors who supply call tracking, click-to-call service, email capture and easy ways to create lead gen forms (call them splash pages) for campaigns on the fly. No more excuses!

Also this week: Ten takeaways from an interview with Stephen Weis, VP of Digital Sales for Hearst and EVP of sales for one organizations who not only has adopted the agency model, but walks the walk: Houston Chronicle. Read "Creating the new sales force" here.

Plus, case studies on three health care channels, with and our conclusions on how to go about creating a local healthcare content play here.

Finally, a shout-out to thank all those who contributed their throughts and ideas to the Ultimate Needs Analysis. An updated version is now on the site here, with a short form at the bottem, based on contributions from Tatiana Burdiak, Sales Specialist for JRC, also published here. Most of the feedback was summarized in a message from  Zack Payer, Evening Post Publishing Company:

"The challenge that I have seen with many needs assessment tools is that the sales staff have not been properly trained to execute. This is a critical step in the process which can easily get side tracked if the individual performing the interview is not comfortable and confident asking the questions. Often these scenarios are best in a casual atmosphere for the client so the nature of the questions is fluid and may occur over two to three conversations."

Needs analysis is something our teams do thousands of times a day, so thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments on how to do it right.


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