Contrary to popular belief, it is not less expensive to advertise online than in a community paper. In fact, it can be a lot more expensive to buy Facebook than print.
Before I explain, let’s take a moment to remember why you do what you and just how awesome community newspapers are.
You already know that the people in your communities trust the ads they see in their community paper more than the ads they see in any other media. And that they prefer to see ads in their community paper over any other media. And that community papers have a far greater reach than online, TV, and radio advertising.
But sometimes advertisers need a little more convincing.
Suzanne Raitt, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer at Newspapers Canada, has provided the BCYCNA with numerous studies that can be used to communicate the immense value, reach, and connectedness of community papers.
In a 2013 study by Totem Research, 95% of respondents said their number one reason for reading community newspapers was for local news or local events. In other words, when people want to know what’s happening in their community, they turn to their community paper. And that’s not going to change. As columnist Robert Williams puts it:
“As long as parents take pride in the birth of a baby, a home run by their Little Leaguer, or graduation, marriage, promotion or any number of life’s milestones, people will enjoy reading about them in their community newspaper.
As long as people care about who died in their community this week, how high their taxes may rise or who scored the winning touchdown at the high school football game — community newspapers will be alive.
As long as bulletin boards and refrigerator doors display cherished family memories, community newspapers will be alive.
Despite what a few might have you believe, newspapers are far from dead.”
No, they’re not even close to dead. Rather, newspapers are “The Foundation of Vibrant Communities” – that is the theme of this year’s National Newspaper Week, running from October 5 – 11, 2014 (www.nationalnewspaperweek.com).
As newspaper publishers, you already know your importance in your community. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded.
The community paper holds a special place in the home. Community newspapers are part of the home, and part of the community. Often read by more than one person, they have a long shelf life. In contrast, a medium like radio is fragmented, requiring many ads on many stations to effectively connect with their market.
While many assume that community newspapers are losing out to an ever-more-digital world, here’s a tidbit you may not have thought about:
One ad in the BCYCNA network of 120+ papers will be circulated to almost 2 million homes. Since more than one person in each home will likely read the paper, our network’s weekly readership is around 2.3 million.
To place an ad in the BCYCNA network, an advertiser will need to spend $395 (for a classified ad) or $995 (for a 1 column x 2 inch display ad).
To measure “readership” in the online world, we have to think of “impressions” – how many times an ad appears before a potential reader. To get even 1 million impressions on Facebook, an advertiser would have to spend almost $10,000.
Let’s see… What makes more sense? Spending less than $1,000 for 2.3 million impressions in the most-trusted medium, where audiences prefer to receive their advertising? Or spending ten times the money for less than half the impressions – on Facebook?
The impact is huge when you look at it from a province-wide angle. Now let’s look at it from a more local perspective, where Facebook can be a useful advertising tool: in a town of 20,000 (White Rock, for example), what is the likelihood that a Facebook ad will reach all the residents? Answer: it won’t.
According to Facebook’s own advertising algorithms, only 15,000 people in White Rock actually use Facebook. So no matter how much money you spend, you can’t reach them all.
Also, the effectiveness of Facebook varies by location. In a city like Ladner, the maximum number of people that can be reached via Facebook is 3,800, even though the population is 21,000. So while it may be an inexpensive option, less than 20% of Ladner’s population actually uses Facebook, so most of them are not even going to see the ad.
But each and every one of them is going to receive their community newspaper.
There is simply NO OTHER MEDIUM with the depth and breadth of reach that community newspapers can provide. We are not only the most trusted media, but we also have the greatest reach.
So if you had any doubt, put it to rest. We’re not going anywhere.
Publishers, feel free to use any of the marketing materials provided by Newspapers Canada, linked below.
Connecting to Canadians with Community Newspapers
Community Newspaper Fact Sheet 2014
Shopping Habits of Rural vs. Urban Canadians.pdf
Media and Ad Engagement Research Summary.pdf
For all of the above fact sheets (and more): http://www.newspaperscanada.ca/ad-resources/fact-sheets/ad-effectiveness
 Except where otherwise noted, data comes from Connecting to Canadians with Community Newspapers, 2013).
 Robert M. Williams, Jr. is a weekly newspaper publisher in Georgia and president of the National Newspaper Association, representing more than 2,500 daily and weekly newspapers across America. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.