The number one reason newspaper websites lose advertising revenue:
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How easy is it for local advertisers to find your ‘Advertise with us’ link? Can you find it? Take a minute or two and go to your newspaper’s website and time how long it takes to find the advertise button, and then how many clicks does it take to get started creating an ad.

How did it go?

iPublish Media Solutions has worked with hundreds of publishers large and small to deploy AdPortals that have powered well over a billion dollars in online transactions for newspapers over the past decade. So why do we still see publishers lose advertising revenue that should be theirs on a daily basis?

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The reason is simple, most editorial websites are not advertiser friendly, making it more difficult for small businesses to find out how to advertise. In most cases information to buy publishers’ largest revenue stream, display advertising, can only be found below the fold, in the fine print at the very, very bottom of the page or buried in the hamburger menu. Just scroll and scroll and scroll all the way down and look through all the tiny links to see if it is there. And sometimes you come up empty.


When businesses do find the “advertise” link and click, is there a welcoming page with a compelling value proposition, exciting visuals, and ‘click here to start’ button? Not often. They wind up on a page that invites them to: “Fill out this form and we’ll get back to you.”


Fortunately, for newspapers using iPublish AdPortal platforms, fixing these website issues is remarkably easy. Here are some simple solutions:

First tip, include all the advertising links above the fold in the top navigation bar, where they are easy to find on any page.

Keep in mind that there are two kinds of viewers, ones that browse through Classifieds or Obituaries, and ones that want to purchase a display campaign. To make it easier for the latter, just put the “Advertise with us” option into the drop down. There is no reason to take a classified order from the top navigation bar, and then send your largest prospects to the bottom of the page.

Next, place a standing promotion to place an order on every section home page.

It is hard to overestimate how powerful this is as a revenue driver. When one newspaper began offering private-party obituaries for the first time, they simply placed a static 300×250 promotion with a link to place an obituary online at the top right of the obituaries section and orders started coming in. It was that easy.

Here’s an idea… Why not rotate the subscription popups with a compelling advertising offer and a call to action to ‘Get Started.’


Consider creating a “solutions page” for all the marketing verticals

A solutions page will help so an advertiser does not have to switch from looking in the top nav, to the bottom of the website, and so on. All the products and platforms are on a single page that kicks off the decision tree for each one: Select the vertical, choose and customize an ad design, pick channels and targets, and purchase.

Rather than asking an already interested advertiser to “Fill out a form and we’ll get back to you,” newspapers should allow them to select easily from eight or nine different verticals offered, such as public notices, real estate, obituaries, or small business and then guide them down the path to place an order.

It’s always a best practice to have a phone number with a live salesperson available on these marketing pages.

Forcing an advertiser to leave their contact information when they are motivated to purchase an ad campaign then and there, diffuses their momentum to do business with you. Digital-first natives are all grown up and are primed and ready to place orders on your website.

Last tip: Promote all the cool new packages and any low-leader pricing offered in the main real estate—yes, above the fold—on high traffic pages.

No other business has the advantage of such a loyal local audience to launch a new product; yet on a typical day, most newspapers are generating pennies from these high traffic ad positions by running national ads via Google Adsense, instead of generating local buzz about their own savvy new local marketing options.

So reevaluate the design of your editorial pages and strive to make it more welcoming and easier for local businesses to buy advertising campaigns and products. There’s real money at stake in your web design choices. Let us know how we can help!