Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Choosing Best Web Sites to Advertise — ‘Medium is the Message’



When considering where to communicate your message, selection of the right medium is important. In the 1960s, it was all the rage after Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan theorized that “the medium is the message.”

His adage is still apropos. In other words, the medium becomes the message, and it’s an influence on how your message is received.

For information and advertising, consumers apparently trust their local newspaper Web sites over any others, according to a comScore marketing study released February 2010.

It showed a 57 percent of respondents preferred newspaper sites for trusted content – local information and ads.

Sales conversion rate

Here’s another stunning statistic: The sales conversion rate was a whopping 82 percent.

In essence, the survey revealed that the advertisers’ selection of the medium in which to advertise is the most important consideration – not the creative.

Forty percent “…agreed that their opinion of online advertising is influenced by the type of website on which the ad appears.”

That’s why I list reputation and content among the nine tips to evaluate online advertising options.

This was especially true for reaching upscale consumers. Sixty-three percent of high-income households and 60 percent of college-educated shoppers trusted newspaper sites more than others.

True, the study was funded by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), but again  it was conducted by the authoritative comScore.

All content

In fact, comScore reports newspaper sites were the No. 1 preference for all types of content, including classified ads.

Thirty-six percent of the 3,050 respondents said newspaper sites were trusted for ads compared to 23 percent who preferred television station Web sites, and 12 percent for portals.

No. 1 newspaper rankings also included:

  • Local information – 29 percent
  • Local sports – 27 percent
  • Local entertainment – 26 percent
  • Local classifieds – 39 percent

The criterion for ads: timeliness, credibility and relevance.

In essence, the survey revealed that the advertisers’ selection of the medium in which to advertise is the most important consideration – not the creative.

Across the board

Incidentally, the results favoring newspaper sites were true for all ages. In the 18-34 demographic, newspaper sites beat television 35 percent to 22 percent. The spread was even greater between newspapers and portals, 35 percent to 11 percent.

That’s heartening news for traditional journalists who have long worried about the trends in declining newspaper readerships, especially among the young.

NAA has 2,000 member newspapers nationwide.

No surprises here, but I disagree with the findings in one regard. Any media Web site with a strong local news image will equal the clout of a newspaper site.

Two tenets

The study is confirmation for me as a business-performance consultant. I’ve long advised clients about two basic tenets in marketing and sales success:

  • First impressions are important.
  • The medium success is synonymous with the message.

In other words, news and public affairs usually attract the most civic-minded consumers with above-average net worth. But I would include radio and TV sites with newspapers in this regard.

And remember the adage, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” Be selective to whom you sell ads. If you’re an advertiser, check the quality of the other advertisers before you buy.

From the Coach’s Corner, more suggested reading:

Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.
-William Bernbach


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.