If, like me, you get your news from Boston.com, NYTimes.com and CNN.com, you’re not alone. According to MediaBuyerPlanner, six in 10 Americans get their news online. And out of all US internet users, three in five read newspapers online every month. So my advice to fellow marketers and media planners? Don’t forget about the online news sites. Yes, Facebook and YouTube are now Internet giants and are great advertising avenues. And yes, we can reach a lot of users through targeted advertising and social media buying. But the real media giants are the ones that have been around for a much longer time, with captive, information-hungry audiences. And right now, these news sites also offer highly targeted advertising and social media components.
You can reach virtually anyone by choosing the right news site (local/regional vs national), then identifying which section you want your ad to appear on (sports, business, food, fashion, IT, jobs, etc). You can also layer more targeting options like demographic, geographic, behavioral and re-targeting.
As for social media? There is now a natural social media component in almost every news sites (via chiclets), but you can also play this angle through your own ads with rich media. For instance, you can stream a live Twitter feed, direct users to a Facebook page, play videos, or even generate leads from a rich media ad. You can make your ads very interactive (and interesting!) so that the user won’t even have to leave the page they are currently reading.
According to ComScore, “more than 123 million Americans visited newspaper sites in May, representing 57 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience, as the New York Times Brand led the category with more than 32 million visitors and 719 million pages viewed during the month.” That’s A LOT of viewers – viewers who may be interested in your brand.
However, as MarketingCharts points out, online newspapers are more expensive and attract high CPM rates. If you can’t afford to advertise directly (sometimes the monthly minimums can go as high as $25K), you can do a placement-targeted buy on Google Display Network. You can also buy media through ad networks and cherry-pick the news sites you want in your media plan.
It is always beneficial to have a variety of media properties and placements in a media plan, and while the power of niche sites cannot be underestimated, don’t forget the bigger, more pervasive news sites that could also perform well for your advertising efforts.