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Response Decline in Classified Advertising

Since 1961 classified advertising as been in decline in Britain. You had then about 70 evening newspapers, of whom only 8 were winners and from which you could guarantee a response. These included the Newcastle Chronicle, The Edinburgh Despatch, The Carlisle Echo, The Northern Echo, The York Press and the Hull Daily Mail. You then had to go to Wales, 250 miles away for two good papers, these being The Cardiff Mail and the Western Echo. Whats interesting to me is that the other 60 newspapers were graveyards, with a very poor response.

The reason for the success of the papers mentioned were that they were strong on local news, were seen as being part of the community, they were broadsheet, and easily read, and used Times Roman Typefaces, and were packed in one bundle. They had just 6 columns - each column being wide and spacious.

About 1970 regional newspapers started to depend more on the Associated Press Agency for a lot of their storys, the page size became smaller, the column width went upto 8 columns, the column width was reduced, the font size dropped from 8 to 7, sometimes 6, and to cram more adverts in they commenced using Arial Narrow Type. On top of which they started increasing the cost of advertising by what appeared to be 20% per year.

In no time a lineage advert that cost $90, soon jumped to $180, then $300. So advertisers reduced the lineage in order to reduce the cost. The problem was "the adverts became boring", unread and not much more than 3 lines and a phone number. You no longer had ads that said "Victorian Cupboard, ships tallboy, circa 1850, very ornate, brass handles, carved feet, mahogony, can be viewed in North Edinburgh, Telephone Mary Twistree", they said Cupboard, good condition, Victoriana, $300, Tel 999888111.

What really killed press adverts was the arrival of the multiple [sections] editions, a newpaper was no longer one paper, which was read from front to back, but 5 seperate packs and a magazine, all folded together. 4 of these sections were mostly UNREAD, and chucked in the bin [USA trash can] so buyers started saying "its not worth buying - and we throw most of it away".

Even worse readers could not be bothered reading through long rows of small classified adverts, so they cancelled their subscriptions en masse. Our local papers cirulations plummetted, and to keep income coming in the papers increased their rates to compensate. The result is that today; the great classified age is over, the response is nil, and it appears the web is going to make major changes to our future advertising requirements and plans.

I imagine its the same all over the world. Huge newspapers that no one reads except on a train, 101 national news storys which repeat tragedy after tragedy, and 8 out of 10 homes no longer buying the local paper. Is the WWW taking over in the USA with realtors dropping press advertising? - by Incidentally
Is the WWW taking over in the USA with realtors dropping press advertising?
The Internet isn't taking over because press advertising is dropping. Press advertising is dropping because the Internet is taking over. ;wi - by AZBroker
[AZ Broker] I know the internet is the thing, but does it really do its job and deliver clients. Can press advertising be dispensed with completely? I'm studying RE USA style.

[i] I noticed in the USA dozens of Real Estate Offices all clamouring and fighting for business in small towns. This raises the question are these offices now redundant because of the wwweb, and will the trend be towards either one central office - serving a small state, or maybe 3 offices serving a larger state and these 3 offices representing a leading RE firm/s total presence in the whole of that state.

[ii] Whats difficult for Americans to understand is we have a THIRD of the population of the USA on a small Island. Whilst the whole of the UK could dissapear inside Texas, Montana or Arizona perhaps.

[iii] When I speak of delivering 1500 door-to-door leaflets in a day, you need to remember that our homes are 1/4th the size of USA homes, so I might walk lets say 5 miles to deliver 1500 leaflets, in the USA I would have to walk maybe 15 miles to cover the same number of houses. Which explains why we can do it.

[4] Its the same with knocking on doors, 200 / 250 houses in the USA is quite a feat I imagine, in England 200 doors is just 4 small streets. I have added this information to dispense the impression I might be from Gotham City, my girl friend is Lois Lane and I wear blue underpants and leggings to obtain business. - by Incidentally
[AZ Broker] I know the internet is the thing, but does it really do its job and deliver clients. Can press advertising be dispensed with completely? I'm studying RE USA style.
Do people find homes advertised on the Internet? Yes.

[i] I noticed in the USA dozens of Real Estate Offices all clamouring and fighting for business in small towns. This raises the question are these offices now redundant because of the wwweb, and will the trend be towards either one central office - serving a small state, or maybe 3 offices serving a larger state and these 3 offices representing a leading RE firm/s total presence in the whole of that state.
How would the Internet make these offices redundant? - by AZBroker
The Internet isn't taking over because press advertising is dropping. Press advertising is dropping because the Internet is taking over. ;wi
Awesome! I like the way you delivered your thoughts and idea. It's simple but meaningful. Keep it up! - by shinningstar
[AZ] My impression of Real Estate is that its a desk & paper biz, with property for sale photographs in your office/shop windows business, all run from a walk in off the street, office centre. This format as lasted a long, long time. The main overheads are staff, office rentals and city taxes, items which in the UK are becoming very expensive indeed.

It occurs to me that Computers and the Internet are making these [many] offices surplus to requirments, that ONE office can service a huge area, and the reps can work from home*.

I need to explain that in England RE reps do not attend viewings, the house holder is relied on to "do the sales work" and to answer any questions. To list your house you must contact the realtor, he wouldn't dream of contacting you. And our commissions are 1%, our national newspapers and TV stations are scathing of Estate Agents for charging "this huge amount".[1%!} I intend coming to the USA to do some digging and it will be interesting.

May I add that houses are not sold over here, and the public might become alarmed if someone tried to sell them a house. All offers are subject to contract, the Lawyers draw up the contracts and at any stage either party can pull out. To give you an example I bought some land, it took 9 months to draw up the contract and attend to the conveyance. When I complained about the long delay to the Law Society governing body-they replied 9 months seemed reasonable? [Queen Victoria still lives in the heart of all good Lawyers] And Realtors too over here. - by Incidentally
The most common scenario I see is one main real estate office and one or more satellite offices where real estate agents can meet with customers and clients. Walk-ins are handled by the real estate agents on floor-duty at the time. The majority of the agents work outside the office (field, home, etc.). - by AZBroker
Thanks AZ. We agree using different words perhaps.

Getting back to newspapers. My big gripe is circualtion and alleged readership figures. Our local newpaper as a print run of about 80000. When you ring them to place an advert their staff will say "And your advert will be READ by 250 000 readers". If you query this they bounce back with each paper is seen by 3.28 readers per copy. What this means is in the average household there are 3.28 occupants, and all 3.28 saw the newspaper on the mat, on the sofa, on the floor, or in someones hands, it does not say THEY READ IT, but that they saw it lying about.

I have worked it out that our [old] adverts were seen in the classifieds by 100 readers, ten of these were part-interested, and just one reader, maybe 2, contacted us. We no longer use classified adverts to obtain leads or business. - by Incidentally
My big gripe is circualtion and alleged readership figures. Our local newpaper as a print run of about 80000. When you ring them to place an advert their staff will say "And your advert will be READ by 250 000 readers". If you query this they bounce back with each paper is seen by 3.28 readers per copy. What this means is in the average household there are 3.28 occupants, and all 3.28 saw the newspaper on the mat, on the sofa, on the floor, or in someones hands, it does not say THEY READ IT, but that they saw it lying about.
Deception and trickery - two ingredients for failure. - by SpeedRacer
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