Numbers coming in from print media circulation numbers are starting to suggest that print media as we’ve come to know it is in trouble. Despite this Google’s about to start selling newspaper advertising. I suspect this is more to increasingly corner the advertising market than because Google is bullish on the future of newspapers.
Despite John Battelle‘s concerns about Google’s algorithms and print ads, I think mathematical analysis of advertising is a very good thing to do all of the time. I may be taking him a bit out of the broader context since he’s always advocated the value of online ads but here’s what he said today that bugged me:
>>> Ads for a specific, community driven audience need to be part of a conversation, not an algorithm >>>
Sheesh! What “need” is John talking about? Although this may be true from the publisher/sales perspective it’s not at all true for a smart advertiser who will want maximum ROI on the advertising dollar.
Historically, advertisers have been too mathematically incompetent and manipulated by sales BS to make good ad decisions. This is all changing (slower than it should, but changing nonetheless) thanks to PPC efficiency plus superior analytical tools, both provided by Google at low cost.
Newspapers and magazines should be very, very worried, because even dense advertisers will finally start to see that most print ad campaigns have negative ROIs* The print media industry has been built on overpriced ads and low paid authors, and things are going to get much, much worse.
* This has been my view for some time based on some of my own studies, but obviously ROI can depend on your definition of “return”. I’m defining it as direct sales rather than some sort of branding “lift” which is a confusing and questionable method for determination of return on advertising investments, but one that is increasingly used because, IMHO, it tends to support the status quo of massive advertising waste on foolish print advertising campaigns run by expensive advertising agencies.
More on this from Dan Blank