Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Break It Up

Are your ads getting bypassed?
Although advertising is an integral part of the newspaper industry, readers have become somewhat evolved in avoiding them. It is up to the ad departments to circumvent this resistance and provide new ways of providing advertising avenues that both promote a product and surprise the reader

With the mass exodus to online advertising, many are curious about the best way to organize advertisements on the newspaper’s website to ensure the best visibility and thus, a healthy click rate. Traditionally, newspapers and websites alike have a consistent visual format, which allows for the predictable organization of news and advertisements. While this encourages easy navigability, it also allows readers to bypass advertisements because the space that they inhabit is so easily anticipated. Like any everyday routine, predictability often encourages us to switch over to autopilot, thus overlooking the extraneous details that ask too much attention, ads are not exception to this.

So, how do you break up the predictability to allow for as much ad viewing as news reading? You have to switch up the format.

Typically, ads are placed in a column on the left- or right-hand side of a webpage, allowing viewers to simply avoid the section all together. Unfortunately for advertisers, this also means that they are making an investment in advertising with the expectation that their ad is getting a lot of eyeballs. The best way for these ads to get more eyeballs, and thus ensuring that advertisers are making a sound investment, would be to embed ads in editorial content.

Although you can’t expect the newspaper to go advertorial and use its editorial space for product plugs, you can introduce some new editorial templates that blur the lines between the defined spaces of editorial and advertisement. For starters, try using paragraph breaks in online content for banner ads. This allows you to not only break up the format and turn off your reader’s autopilot, but also forces advertisements to be an integral part of newspaper reading. Because advertisements — in a sense — have become supplementary to the desires of the newspaper reader, an unsuspected one will be hard to ignore.

Another way to break up your template is to add a section that is visually editorial space, but is dedicated to testimonials or other types of non-traditional advertising. For example, many businesses will feature a quotation from one of their customers on their homepage to offer visitors proof of their commitment to quality. This is a good strategy for small businesses, as many consumers will not purchase a product until they can be assured of its quality. Why not offer the same opportunity to your advertisers?

Since readers have been able to develop a resistance to advertising, creating ad space that appears to be either user-generated commentary or newspaper approved testimonial, will seem much more interesting and legitimate that an ad itself.

Although advertising is an integral part of the newspaper industry, readers have become somewhat evolved in avoiding them. It is up to the ad departments to circumvent this resistance and provide new ways of providing advertising avenues that both promote a product and surprise the reader. So, when your advertising dollars are down, take a risk and switch it up.