Newspapers want to attract smaller local advertisers. To get there, they’ll need self-serve solutions. The accounts aren’t valuable enough to assign feet on the street. It would be helpful if they were simple and intuitive as well. That’s what AdReady, Wave2 Media and 2AdPro have done with solutions for various newspapers that enable prefabricated templates, in AdReady’s case, and fast production of ads, a specialty of Wave2 and 2AdPro.
New Haven-based PaperG is going in a different direction with its Flyerboard product, which lets advertisers instantly create and stick up ads with virtual “thumb tacks,” bulletin board-style. The ads can be hyperlocalized for different zones, and can be themed for certain categories (i.e., babysitting services).
To post an ad, advertisers submit a graphic file. The file is then converted into an interactive ad with various kinds of online functionality, allowing viewers to share it via e-mail and social networks, and locate businesses with online map services
For the past several months, the Flyerboard has been tested by a number of papers, including The Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe’s Your Town hyperlocal site. It has also launched on other Web sites, including Parenthood.com, mtvU’s College Media Network and 50 other sites. Today, PaperG announced a formal relationship with Hearst Newspapers for 15 of its newspapers, including The Houston Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Albany Times Union and The San Antonio Express News.
CEO and Founder Victor Wong says Hearst signed after a multi-month test with The Houston Chronicle, which “achieved nearly six figures revenue in the first month” and “is still quickly growing. Sales representatives tell us it is a much easier product to sell than previous offerings, and they can get advertisers who spend between $100 and $10,000,” says Wong.
Top verticals that have been monetized by Chron.com include communities, entertainment, life, sports, moms, real estate, autos and jobs. “We’ve seen a wide spectrum of local advertisers including restaurants, retail stores, service providers, nonprofits, real estate agents and auto dealers,” says Wong. “You can see that we have strength in traditional classifieds segments as well as new classified segments like event listings and local promotion listings.”
Wong cautions, however, that the Flyerboard “isn’t a substitute for existing advertising. As reported by the salespeople, most revenue is new revenue from new advertisers. We are primarily growing new revenue streams with our partners.”
The service also doesn’t have the flexibility to be totally customized. For instance, advertisers are locked into appearing in a certain part of the page, with good but limited functionality. They can’t post IAB standard ads, for instance. But for those advertisers that can live with that, PaperG certainly represents a new, less expensive option.