|The number of
readers divided by the number of advertisers is a useful metric
to think about if you're looking at advertising. This ratio varies widely
according to different markets and media, but for this discussion I'll just
stick to the Sun and storage markets.|
In the early 1990's (before there
was a world wide web) advertisers had to make do with paper publications. At
that time, we didn't sell advertising, because our publications were vendor
neutral guides funded by reader subscriptions. But we did sell mailing lists. In
talking to marketers both in the US and Europe, I got the distinct impression
that most advertising wasn't cost effective at generating leads. That's when I
first thought about the Reader to Advertiser Ratio as a useful way to
A typical printed magazine covering the enterprise
server markets would have a ratio in the range as follows. The unit of
advertising would typically be an ad for one or more months.
- UK Sun market, printed magazine:- in the range from below 50 up to around
200 depending on the publication.
If we look at the same ratios for a web
based portal today, such as STORAGEsearch
or the SPARC Product Directory,
where the entry level classified ads run for a year, the ratios we get are:- in
the range from about 6,000 to 10,000. That's about 10 times better than print.
However let's remember that the costs associated with web advertising are
typically an order of magnitude lower than print so companies which have
executed well with their web advertising (like most of our customers) have
tended to dump their print ads, at first cautiously, and then altogether.
- US Sun market, printed magazine:- in the range from about 500 to about 900
depending on the publication.
Reader to Advertiser Ratio does vary considerably for different web publishers.
So it's a useful way of assessing the results you might get before committing to
an ad campaign. If you want to go more deeply into this kind of ratio you
should contact the publisher and find out the ratio in the product segment you
want to advertise in. That's where things start to get interesting. But
remember that nothing works as well as comparative testing, of real ads on real
people, which should always supercede any theoretical analysis.
course this ratio is not the full story, because, as with print advertising, the
more you spend, the more visibility you get. But it's a useful starting point.
Unfortunately web advertising has much in common with direct
marketing, and we've all seen examples of badly designed, badly targeted mail
campaigns which made a lot of money for the marketing agency but which didn't do
any good for the client. So choosing the wrong portal and running ads which
insult the intelligence of readers is a sure way to convince yourself that maybe
print advertising wasn't so bad at all.
Another way to apply this kind
of ratio is to look at expos. If you divide the total number of visitors by the
total number of booths... That can give you numbers which are scary, especially
when you factor in all the costs. So don't do it if you're the nervous type.
A good analytical marketer will already have an idea of the spectrum
of costs for acquiring leads and customers through different promotion methods.
You need more than one method, because customers vary in the way they want to
be marketed to. But these kind of ratios can help you understand why some
publications don't work as well as you thought they should. If the problem is
systemic, i.e. a ratio that's vastly lower for one publication than another, and
if you're getting poor results, then the ratio tells you that you're ALWAYS
going to get comparatively worse results in that publication no matter how much
you change the design and offer. So dump it, and be confident why it's the right
thing to do.
|In the mysterious
case of Megabyte and the gray suits, Megabyte had an unfair advantage. He waited
until his opponents had worn themselves out attacking the wrong target."|