We’ve known for years that internet usage was increasing dramatically, and people were searching for everything and anything online. Now, we also know that mobile internet usage is increasing. The reason for such worldwide popularity is the convenience, inexpensive costs, and content interaction we enjoy with online content. So where does that leave newspapers? Last year, weekday paper sales dropped 10.6%, and Sunday paper sales dropped 7.5%. Newspaper circulation hasn’t been this low since before the 1940s, according to The New York Times.
Not only is circulation down, but print advertising has also taken a hit. It was down by 16.6% last year, and already by 28% so far this year. With the print versions losing so much popularity, papers are forced to consider charging for online content. Many newspapers provide almost an exact copy of their papers online, yet many provide this content for free. As a consumer, would you be willing to pay for online news? A study showed that 46% of us now search for our news online, however, 50% of us still prefer to get our news on TV.
One reason for a decline in print advertising is that we now have services like Craigslist to advertise any type of item or service we’d like to sell or purchase, as well as for personal ads. While it isn’t free to advertise on Craigslist, it is certainly inexpensive, and advertisers know they’ll reach a wider audience online, through a site as popular as Craigslist than they would through a particular newspaper.
Newspapers have also been a hotspot for businesses to advertise sales, coupons and events in the past. While papers provided a one-stop location for all different types of advertising, the purpose of advertising is to reach the widest target audience possible. Therefore, as print circulation declines, SEO and different methods of online advertising become increasingly necessary to keep your business alive. Instead of advertising your coupon in the local paper, you may want to register with a daily deal website as a new SEO tool and present your coupon that way. Instead of advertising for events, open houses, etc. in the paper, you may want to notify people via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. To reiterate what was discussed above, if you used to advertise for individual items or services in the local paper, you may now want to get familiar with Craigslist. It is likely only a matter of time before printing costs exceed profits and newspapers are forced to cease printing and go 100% digital.
Sara Beaudoin is the Marketing Communications Manager for SearchPro Systems