Yesterday the Newspaper Association of America released the worst news yet for U.S. publishers: Q2 newspaper ad sales were off $2.8 billion from the year prior, and ad revenue for the first six months of 2009 crashed 29 percent. Analyst Ken Doctor of Outsell believes only half this decline can be blamed on recession, and the reduced spending level is part of a permanent reset as marketers move budgets to the web.
It’s worth pausing to consider the cause-and-effect behind this trend: marketers spend ad budgets chasing results; fewer dollars flowing to newsprint mean results there are scarce; scarcity of results means consumers are reading less in newspapers, and even when they do they are less likely to respond to the ad. We still recommend newspapers in media plans for some demos, but the importance of measuring results with hard data feeds is now greater than ever. The old days of popping ads into newspapers with no tracking are now a wrap.