Are Newspaper Ads Really 25x More Effective Than Online?

I was working at DoubleClick back in 2000 during the dotcom bomb so I got to witness first hand as CPM prices crashed from $50 to $5.

In looking at CPMs today I found something that surprised me: newspaper CPMs are approximately 25 times more expensive than online ads.











That means businesses are paying a premium for static ads that are difficult to track. The only way that makes sense to me is if companies aren’t comfortable with the newer technology.

That might also explain why radio and TV are cheaper than their paper counterparts, it requires more technology and work to create a radio spot or TV commercial than a simple static Ad.

But, I’m a bit surprised by the fact that newspaper CPMs are so much more expensive than Magazines. Maybe it’s due to the fact that smaller papers have a tighter geographic focus and are therefore more attractive to local businesses?

But this 25x differential in pricing really can’t last. I expect that means that CPMs for traditional media are going to fall rather than online CPMs rising a great deal. This will be good for companies that buy advertising, but is only going to further injure traditional media.




1 comment

  1. For that matter – look at the entire business model of telephone books. They exist to sell ads to uninformed businesses. The ads cost a lot of money and the proceeds are used to kill entire forests at a time.

    A few years ago I was working with a midwest yellow pages-like company to try and expand their online foot print. I asked them who was buying print ad space and the response was effectively: “People who have always buy ads with us.” Basically, decades-old mom-and-pop stores that have not caught up to the whole internet thing. I don’t know what the CPM is for something like Yellow Pages but it has to be insane.

    It strikes me that there will another market adjustment to ad prices as the natural atrophy cycle of businesses cull the population of technology laggards.

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