Despite Perceived Rift with Google, Newspapers Promote Search Ads

  |  April 9, 2009   |  Comments

The Newspaper Association of America at its annual conference this week promoted search engine marketing as a potential revenue stream for its member publishers.

Reports out of the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention this week focused on the perceived drama between newspaper publishers and Google. Observers have been fixed on the rifts between the search firm and newspaper publishers, which some say suffer because of search engine-facilitated distribution of their content. However, the NAA itself at the San Diego event promoted search engine marketing as a potential revenue stream for its member publishers.

During a presentation Monday, the NAA's SVP Business Development Randy Bennett, along with VP Advertising Mort Goldstrom, suggested a variety of ways newspaper firms can enhance their digital ad offerings. Among their recommendations: search engine marketing services.

"We bring you more qualified leads at a greater value in an instant -- by placing your ad on top search engines," noted a page on Hearst-owned Chron.com featured in the presentation. The Houston Chronicle's Chron.com offers things like paid search campaign management, keyword list building, ad creation, and reporting services to its advertisers, according to its site. Such services benefit the likes of Google.

The NAA also included search marketing as a topic in its Digital Media Advertising Toolkit, released in February as a guide to its publisher members. "The power of search-based, video, mobile and online advertising to drive revenue for newspaper companies is impressive, and newspapers that focus on increasing this revenue will surely be better off for the efforts," notes the guide's introduction.

Goldstrom told ClickZ News today that newspaper firms should consider offering several ad products and services, including search. The product arsenal ought to be complete, he said, noting that small and medium businesses need help with a wide range of marketing capabilities.

"There's a variety of options that need to be thought of for those kinds of businesses. Search blends in with the self-service models and the telesales models that [newspapers] have explored," said Goldstrom.

The Associated Press, a cooperative of hundreds of newspaper publishers, caused a stir Monday when it said it plans to crack down on what it called "misappropriation" of its online news content. The organization said it would develop new search pages that direct users to breaking news. The announcement was largely viewed by observers as a direct attack on Google, which sometimes points users to non-AP affiliated sites featuring AP news stories.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke Tuesday at the conference, spurring more commentary about the complicated relationship between newspapers and the search giant.

Analysts suggest that offering search marketing services and products could create a viable revenue stream for newspaper firms. However, there are obstacles. For one, yellow pages publishers -- also going after elusive local small business ad dollars -- have already integrated SEM services into their ad offerings in recent years.

"The challenge becomes how are you going to make the product different from others?" said Sterling Market Intelligence Analyst Greg Sterling. He also suggested many local businesses that might be interested in bundled SEM products remain uneducated about search marketing and how to measure its value.

"They're way behind the yellow pages," said Kelsey Group VP and Program Director of Marketplaces Peter Krasilovsky, in regards to newspaper firms and their ability to sell search services. Their sales staffs are "really oriented around large buys, typically banner on the online side, or full page [print ads]," he continued.

Krasilovsky believes newspapers need to branch out their online ad offerings, and "Search has to be big part of it." Still, he continued, "They don't necessarily have to work with Google on every part of the solution."

Several newspaper firms have partnered with the second-largest search firm, Yahoo, to enhance their display ad reach and employment classifieds. Yet, these Newspaper Consortium deals do not include services that would easily connect paper advertisers with Yahoo's search advertising. "That's always been a strange weakness over at Yahoo," said Sterling.

"We must empower our sales staffs to sell our full portfolio of print and digital products -- giving them the right tools, training and incentives. Also, think of the possibilities of harnessing that large, local sales staff to sell on behalf of others and share revenues," said NAA Chairman and McClatchy President and CEO Gary Pruitt. "The untapped potential of local digital advertising in each of our markets is why internet giants like Yahoo and Google seek partnerships with newspapers. We need to mine that local digital revenue stream. We can't afford to fumble the opportunity."

Pruitt told the NAA audience online ad revenues account for 15 percent of McClatchy's ad revenues, and that the $200 million in digital revenue the firm expects to collect this year will come at a higher profit margin than its print business.

The NAA presentation also recommended newspaper firms consider digital ad products like rich media ad units, online contests, mobile advertising and lead generation, and micro-sites. A sign of the times, the organization also suggested its members provide "reverse value add" offers to advertisers, meaning they should offer free print ads with the purchase of Web ads. In earlier days, newspapers gave away Web ads when advertisers bought their print products.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...