Leveraging audience data to drive advertising revenue

By Daniel Williams Published November 4, 2015

Newsmedia companies are discovering ways to leverage data and segmentation tools to drive not only audience growth and engagement, but to utilize these very same capabilities to support revenue growth through services provided on behalf of local advertisers.

This emerging opportunity and selling approach was described very well in a recent INMA blog post by Steve Gray, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Morris Communications.

In his post, Steve correctly observed that, "The pitch of the future is not about selling a media product. It’s about selling the ability to reach exactly the consumers who are most likely to care about your product or service, using whatever channels and messages provide the highest yield per marketing dollar."

At the recent Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association Advertising Conference, LEAP Media Solutions and the Erie Times-News presented a case study for incorporating advertiser client data into LEAP's database, then leveraging an array of audience insights to deliver a complete marketing strategy for its advertiser.

This approach incorporates LEAP's Targeted Growth Model methodology where high opportunity segments can be identified and targeted based on a variety of meaningful criteria including geography, demography, transactional and LMS - MAAX Screenshotpsychographic behavior, channel preferences and contact history.   Resource investments can then be specifically allocated to those segments demonstrating maximum potential for growth and profitability.

At LEAP, we call this the "needs assessment/needs fulfillment" selling model and it has been integral to Erie's ability to generate over $800,000 in new advertising revenues this year.

Depending on the demographic characteristics, interests and purchase propensities of the advertiser's existing client base, Erie can devise a custom, multichannel media plan to most effectively allocate marketing investments toward the right audiences, using the right channels.  In many cases, these insights have been used to reinforce the value of its traditional print (as one of several) vehicles to reach the desired audience.  In other cases, Erie has deployed an array of data-driven and digital marketing solutions to extend the audience reach for its advertisers beyond print.

But in order to effectively sell audience, the first step for a local sales force is to be able to answer these key questions for its advertisers:

  • Who are your targets?
  • What are they like?
  • Where can you find them?
  • What do they think?
  • How do you most effectively reach them?

Newsmedia companies that are making the investments in a customer intelligence infrastructure to support this manner of selling audience are well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities Steve Gray describes.  There are several examples of this type of approach paying dividends for newsmedia companies and their advertisers, such McClatchy's customer data center that provide advertisers with audience information, analytics and marketing execution as a managed service.

As Steve Gray articulates, and as evidenced by the recent successes in Erie, Sacramento and other markets - the potential for meaningful revenue growth, and more importantly the opportunity to solve challenges for local advertisers provides an exciting path forward for newsmedia companies.


Dan Williams is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at LEAP Media Solutions, and is based in Raleigh, NC. He can be reached at via email or phone at 860.710.5942


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