Day by day, the Internet continues to play a larger, more useful role in our daily lives. And savvy consumers are the most enthusiastic and loyal visitors to local Web sites for news about their communities, entertainment and dining options, shopping alternatives and more. Adding a Web component to your advertising and marketing mix is essential to maximize your reach and deliver your messages to your target audience.
Most important, those who use the Internet for news updates throughout the day are better-educated, earn a higher median household income and are in their prime purchasing years. They represent the most coveted audience for advertisers, and they turn to the Internet for reliable, timely information when making purchasing decisions -- whether that decision is for durable goods, gifts or entertainment.
These Internet users continue to be avid readers of the daily print newspaper. During the past week, nearly two-thirds of the visitors to a newspaper's Web site also read a copy of the print edition. Furthermore, the Internet is a prime delivery vehicle for reaching a younger audience: Online newspaper visitors between the ages of 18 and 34 make up more than 40 percent of all viewers.
Online Advertising's Strengths
During the past eight years, newspapers' print and online sales teams have consulted with local advertisers to develop programs that raise awareness and increase foot traffic. Advertising in the newspaper's Web site and e-mail newsletters:
-- Raises awareness and reinforces your overall marketing efforts.
-- Reaches a highly educated, high-income audience.
-- Adds frequency and interactive elements to your in-print newspaper promotions.
-- Expands the geographic boundaries of your advertising.
-- Reaches online news viewers during the workday when they are making plans for lunch, shopping excursions and evenings out.
-- Offers the ability to link to your Web site(s), which allows you to provide much more detailed information than is available in traditional advertising.
-- Advertises your product or service on the Internet for a fraction of the cost of conventional advertising methods.
-- Allows you to update products, prices and promotional messages in minutes, rather than having to wait for the next day's paper.
-- Includes color for no extra charge.
The Internet is an advertising medium that cannot be ignored -- increasingly, it is a valuable resource for advertisers' most important audiences. Complementing your print advertising with a presence on Web contributes to the success of your marketing plans -- day by day.
Online advertising valuable
Media researchers have examined the benefits to advertisers who add online spending to their marketing campaigns. In one study, a consumer packaged goods company experienced an increase in important metrics such as brand awareness, brand attributes and purchase intent following an increase in online advertising. The study from the Advertising Research Foundation, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Microsoft Corps' MSN network also described a relationship between improved branding effectiveness and higher online frequency.
One of the hottest trends among online newspapers involves the use of print display advertising on the Web. The concept is powerful and easy to understand. For a very reasonable price, newspapers' online departments can create a digitized version of a customer's display advertisement and add interactive elements and even search capabilities. The homes on a real estate broker's full-page listing can now be examined one by one. A home seeker can even send the best choices by e-mail to his or her spouse or Realtor.¨
The Web also extends the life span of a display ad or circular. Newspaper sites heavily promote their "marketplace" sections, which offer an array of display, classified and online-only advertising, including coupons. Site visitors can search for a particular merchant, product or service, or they can navigate by using menus that list specific stores or product categories. Some sites in larger metropolitan areas even allow users to segment their search by geographic area. The newspapers promote the benefits of marketplace sections using print and online promotional campaigns. The appearance of display ads online improves frequency among the core print/online audience and reaches desirable online-only visitors to the newspaper site.
There's another emerging model that will be familiar to you. Online producers are working with software companies to bring audio and video advertising to the Internet. You can expand the audience for your already-produced radio and television ads by placing them online and adding an interactive element to entice viewers. The TV ad for a department store would appear within a frame that is labeled with the retailer's brand name and logo. After visitors view the ad, they can interact with the advertising unit. One link takes them to the department store's main site. Another opens a second window that lets the consumer search for the nearest store, hours of operation and a map. If an auto dealer purchased this ad unit, a link could invite viewers to e-mail an Internet sales representative with specific questions.
Many new sites are experimenting with "rich-media" ads. These formats offer smooth animation and the ability to layer a sequence of events on top of the content. Imagine that you've just opened the home page of your newspaper's site. Just seconds after the text and images appear on the screen, a car begins to drive across the page. Your eyes follow the car as it scoots to the right side of the page, where it parks and then dissolves into a rectangular advertisement for a local auto dealer. If the dealer supports multiple manufacturers, a different model could appear each day.
SOURCE: National Newspaper Association
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