According to the Newspaper National Network, which is majority-owned by the top US papers, advertisers spent $28 billion in newspaper advertising last year (about 10% of that was advertising with online news outlets).
Looking at trends in newspaper/online news advertising expenditures compiled by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), ad spending was down 27% in 2009 compared with 2008, down 16.6% in 2008 compared with 2007, and down 7.9% in 2007 compared with 2006. According to the NAA, the last time print/online newspaper ad spending was up was in 2005.
Now the Newspaper National Network wants to show that print/online news ads can boost sales by 10% or more (as measured by IRI's InfoScan). In fact, it will guarantee this kind of sales gain and, if the results don't measure up, the advertisers will receive a rebate on some of their ad expenses (in the form of free ads, for instance).
There's a lot of small print attached to this offer, but it's a good start on the path to demonstrating efficacy. In many cases, advertising results are measured in terms of brand awareness and recognition. However, this program is geared toward sales results, a bottom-line measure that's vital in today's challenging economy.