Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Making the most of the classified ad

The classified ad is the staple of newspaper advertising departments.

From a consumer point of view, the humble classie does the sorting for us, allowing us to find exactly what we are looking for in a predictable place.

I love classies for a lot of reasons. But I do want to urge advertisers to use them for what they are good at.

First the pros…..

- Classies reach a very targeted audience: We’re constantly telling our clients to target their messages and classies do exactly that. When I am selling a car, my ad is going right in the place where people who want to buy a car are looking.

- Classies are accessible to everyone: You don’t have to be a big advertiser to place a classie. A small classie can cost as little as $20 or $30.

- Classies are sorted by subject: You don’t need to wade through every page of the paper to find what you are looking for. You simply flip to the Whitegoods section and there are all the secondhand fridges in one convenient place.

- Classies can be very clever: I’ve seen some brilliant marketing campaigns built around the classie. By using a series of small, cheap classies, you can leverage frequency to build a whole campaign at a very reasonable price.

Now the cons ….

-Classies cost more per centimetre: The classified advertising rate can be $2 or $3 higher than the standard display advertising rate.

- Classie centimetres are smaller than a display centimetre: A standard tabloid news page is seven columns wide while a classified page is eight columns wide. The page isn’t bigger – the ads are just skinnier.

- Classies don’t attract volume discounts: Big (and even medium-size) advertisers get discounts off casual rates on their display advertising. These discounts generally do not apply to classies (but ask anyway, as you never know what deal you can do).

- Classies don’t always have the same flexibility as display: You need to stick to fairly standard sizes with a classie. For example, you can’t have a three-column classie in most sections – only two or four (or more). Still, ask for special shapes because your rep may be willing to go out on a limb.

- Classies don’t account for passerby traffic: Just because you’re not looking to buy a new TV doesn’t mean I can’t tempt you with an ad cleverly placed in the sports section. Not everyone who will be tempted to buy a product will be looking for it in the classies.

All in all, use classies for what they are good for and use display advertising when it shines.

And don’t be afraid to talk to your marketing consultant, media buyer or newspaper rep about doing special deals and making special sizes.

Newspapers have come a long way over the past few years and you’ll be surprised at the range of advertising options available.

News Limited has developed a website specifically looking at the creative use of advertising space that is packed full of case studies, celever ideas and challenges to the traditional use of print media. You can visit the site at http://www.newsspace.com.au/

If you are in the Territory, get in touch with the NT News or Centralian Advocate and ask to see the publication Think Outside the Rectangle for a fastastic range of ideas.