If digital is so marvellous, why do we have to try so hard to persuade advertisers to spend online?

REGIONAL publisher Johnson Press has launched a campaign to persuade more small businesses to advertise online, according to HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk.

The company is trying to address a problem that has been nagging at newspaper companies for some time. While large companies have embraced digital advertising, smaller enterprises are less enthusiastic, largely because they feel uncomfortable with the medium.

It is a situation mirrored in America, where a survey by the Boston Consulting Group found that although 23 million small firms power the US economy, their digital spend was tiny. The 550 small-business owners they polled spent only three per cent of their advertising budgets online.

It is only a matter of time before this reticence is broken down (in the US and here), and digital revenues begin to flow from firms that have traditionally had a close relationship with their local papers.

But Johnston Press is understandably trying to coax things along a little, rightly trumpeting its digital marketing expertise and the reach of its brands.

It, like other regional newspaper companies, will have taken keen interest in the half-yearly financial report from Trinity Mirror. It showed digital revenue growing an impressive 47.5 per cent to £14.9 million.

The money is there.

Newspapers have to show flexibility in meeting advertisers’ needs, putting together marketing packages that combine print with website ads and social media campaigns.

Key to gaining trust is offering easy-to-understand pricing structures and metrics that illustrate return-on-investment in what is a bewildering new area to many business owners.









About John Wilson

Editor of Hereford Times, Ludlow Advertiser, Stroud News and Journal, Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard and Gloucestershire Gazette series. Journalist for more than 30 years.
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2 Responses to If digital is so marvellous, why do we have to try so hard to persuade advertisers to spend online?

  1. I agree John – many of our clients and the other SME businesses we talk to are happy to have a go at digital advertising, but want to be able to measure its impact and the return on their investment.

    • John Wilson says:

      There’s some good stuff out there they can use themselves, Chris. I’d recommend Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Bitly and Tweetreach. All free (though Tweetreach charges for its more advanced service). It’s amazing how quickly you can get an idea of who and how many people you are reaching from these simple online tools.

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