Category Archives: Buying Advertising

BlueRally Marketing articles focused on buying advertising media.

The Phone Book is Dead

When was the last time that you used a phone book? If you’re like most people, you probably can’t remember. That stack of phone books hidden in the end table has been gone for a while. There might be one slim edition lying around for that ‘just in case’ moment, but failing that desire it probably went into the trash can.

The old Yellow Pages was the money maker for the phone company. Expensive black and white ads trying to position your company in certain categories. Later, they added color since that is what customer’s eyes looked at first. Ads were expensive and the approval process was annoying. While it connected many new customers with businesses, it was a chore to use and heavy to lug out. And, it was time-consuming when you didn’t know exactly what you were seeking.

Now that the phone book is gone, how do customers find your business? The answer is in your purse or pocket. It’s the smartphone.

Smartphone owners use their devices every day, multiple times per day. You might be one of those individuals. More than half of all current smartphone users have used their phone to get health information (62%) and do online banking (57%). They research real estate listing for homes and rentals (44%). They look for jobs (43%) and submit job applications (18%). They lookup government resources (40%) or focus on education (30%).

Smartphones are a part of society. They are used for communications with Text use over 92%, voice use over 91% and email use over 87%. Over 80% of smartphone users access their phones for the internet. Video, music, and SNS are also accessed over the devices, and these segments are growing.

How big is the smartphone market? 2016 Statista research projects smartphone ownership to grow to 207.2 million users or an increase of 16.7 million users over 2015. In a U.S. population of 320 million, that means roughly two-thirds of the country has smartphone capability. By 2019, smartphone use is expected to grow to 236.8 million.

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many, these devices are a key entry point to the online world,” said Aaron Smith at the Pew Research Center. “64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011. Smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans, as well as those with relatively high income and education levels.”
In advertising your business, being found on a smartphone is where you want to be. This is true for search, social and for navigation. If someone is looking for your goods or services, then get with the program and position yourself for success in everyone’s pocket.

Number of smartphone users in the United States from 2010 to 2019 (in millions),” Statista 2016.

U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015,” by Adam Smith, The Pew Research Center, April 1, 2015.

It’s a circus out there!

If you’re a business owner faced with buying advertising on a regular basis, you know the dilemma. “Where do I begin?”

Whether you’re exploring a new market, attempting to rejuvenate a faithful market or simply trying to out maneuver a competitor, that question is a constant when buying media.

“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”
— General Creighton W. Abrams

Complicating the question is the increasing number of new ways to advertise. In fact, there probably has never been a time in human history where advertising options are so plentiful. The internet and its platforms, social media channels, smartphone apps and all the legacy media have an audience and market. For the buyer, it’s a circus out there!

How does a buyer tame those advertising lions?

Start with what you know, and then expand. If you’re comfortable with newspaper advertising for example, maintain what you’re doing. Then, pair your effort with something you’d like to try. Let’s say you want to try Facebook. Set a deadline for results, maybe two or three months, and then compare your newspaper/Facebook effort with just the newspaper alone.

If the combo is unsuccessful for you, pick something else. If the newspaper/Facebook effort showed results, then try to leverage Facebook to promote your business more.

General Creighton W. Abrams once said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”

Don’t feel that you have to jump at every opportunity when buying media. The spin in the advertising marketplace is intense. It is better to go slow, build on what works and measure your media choices.