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From The Founder: Something else that newspapers can’t do . . .

Written By Ken Davenport

Here’s an idea . . .

In all fairness, I’m not even sure websites can do this yet.  Well, I’m sure they can, but I’m not sure they are doing this yet.

I know our industry isn’t . . . but I think you’ll agree after you read this entry that we should.

If you’re advertising a show, you may buy banner ads across a news website like NYTimes.com or Playbill or even Huffpost.

Your ads are served across the network, in most cases, or what is called ROS or Run of Site, which means they are served on all pages.  Or, maybe you target just the home page, or a listings page, etc. 

But what if you could target just your content pages . . . and what if you could retarget the people that visit those pages?

Follow me.

If a customer visits Playbill.com and happens to see an editorial article on, oh, I don’t know, Godspell, let’s say . . . and clicks on that link to read that article . . . then “duh” wisdom will tell you that the clicker is a qualified lead for Godspell.  Someone reading editorial is more likely to be interested, and therefore more likely to make a purchase.

Well, the great thing about niche industry sites like Playbill and BroadwayWorld is that . . . yep . . . they contain many pages about similar content. There are a ton of articles about Godspell, Mormon, Wicked, etc.  And someone reading more than two articles is more inclined to purchase than someone reading one article.  And someone reading three articles is more inclined to purchase than someone reading two articles, and so on, and so on.

Imagine if news sites gave you the following options:

  • Serve ads on pages in which your editorial content appears (that’s easy)
  • Serve ads to people that have visited one editorial article (getting trickier)
  • Serve ads to people that have visited exactly three articles (advanced)
  • Serve ads to people that have visited editorial articles about shows that are similar to yours (got a family show, target people that have read articles about The Lion King.)
  • And on and on and on

Google allows some of the easier bullet points on this list to happen with sites on its content network.  But I’m lobbying for our sites (especially the ones that don’t use the Google Content Network) to look at building their own network that allows us to focus on retargeting those folks who have read all about the shows but haven’t purchased yet.  

What the internet allows us to do is get very, very specific in terms of the people we target.  It allows us to fire missiles instead of dropping big ol’ expensive bombs.  

Less waste and better results.

Maybe we can’t do this yet, but we can apply the theory.  Editorial means interest.  Find the people reading your articles, and you’ll find the people who just might buy your tickets.


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