Newspapers Benefit from Classified Upsells

Mature online newspapers now generate more revenue from online-only classified ads than classified upsells. Other newspapers rely heavily on upsells and are creating opportunities for online-only competition to win over their customers with lower prices.

A number of papers still sees a significant amount of revenue from classified upsells, while some, even now, don?t charge anything separately for an upsell. They bundle it in with the print ad in one price, which often is used to justify the print side and ends up devaluing the online portion.

Print classifieds have dropped so far, so fast that many online newspaper operations are seeing a year-over-year decline in their total revenue. Many operations that rely more heavily on upsells are suffering the most.

An effective way of upselling classified ads into online is by establishing a separate price for print and online and one discounted price for both together.

Rate increases for the online product are justified by the growth of the Web site audience and additional reach of the ad. If a site audience grows 20 percent, it is certainly justifiable to grow the online price by 20 percent, especially considering the cheap price of upsells at many newspapers.

The opposite is true on the print side. The industry may have reached the point where further increases may not be possible; indeed, prices are flattening and likely face declines in the coming months and years. The declines will be necessary to increase volume, revenue and profit for the online product.

2 thoughts on “Newspapers Benefit from Classified Upsells”

    1. Thanks for your question. It depends on the size of the site and the budget. Small newspapers with no budget have done fairly well with WordPress, which is free, easy to set up and can be enhanced with some classified modules.

      A very good CMS called ExpressionEngine current costs $300. The learning curve is a bit steep, but it’s the best I’ve seen at classifieds for a small to medium-sized newspaper site.

      Drupal is popular, free and used by a fair number of newspapers, but I would recommend it only for a newspaper that has strong technical resources. Also, classifieds are doable but not easy to implement.

      An easier and even more popular free one is Joomla. It is intuitive and easy to use, but the templating system is limited, and I couldn’t find a good classified module.

      There are other options, and some of them start to climb in cost. But again, it depends on your situation.

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