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Newspapers chasing small local advertisers is uneconomical. Less sales hype, more hyperlocal news needed 7/31/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Advertising revenues.
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According to the Wall Street Journal, to make-up for falling ad revenues, newspapers have nearly tripled the number of local salespeople, only to watch their share of local online ads drop by a quarter. And yet, local online ad revenues grew by 57% last year, much of it captured by Google and Local.com.

Apparently, having locally available humans press the flesh is not the advantage newspapers thought it might be. The Wall Street Journal points out several possible reasons, including papers’ past focus only on larger advertisers, low commission opportunities offered my these low cost, small size purchases, and the relative ineffectiveness of banner ads for local merchants.

The solution for newspapers is probably based more on its product than its sales force. Online papers must reestablish themselves as local must-reads. What’s needed is less sales hype and more hyperlocal news. (H/T Garry Rains)

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