Why Facebook Signals The End Of Niche Print Titles

The category of print publishing that has arguably been least devastated by the ravages of online audience migration, and also therefore has retained a higher proportion of its advertising revenues, is Niche Publications. But the end is nigh.

The perceived wisdom to date has been “The more niche the better”. Print publications with an audience of just a few thousand targeted readers have continued to attract advertisers who have little choice if they want to reach that finely tuned demographic.

Revenues for traditional publishers have been squeezed and squeezed until there’s nothing left to squeeze. Many newspapers have been closed or sold off and now exist on a minimum cost base scrapping for the last few display advertising pounds and dollars that have been earmarked for print. Classified advertising died a long time ago. Although many Niche Publications have survived, they are now under threat like never before … and they don’t even realise.

The niche “publications” that will grab their ad revenues tomorrow are already being assembled in big numbers on Facebook. Facebook marketers are growing targeted audiences in every conceivable category and with the power of Facebook advertising they will, in future, whenever they decide their audience has grown to a suitable size, unleash their products of unsuspecting print publishers. Who will do two things:

1. Try to emulate their new competitors, but it will be too late.

2. Try to buy their new competitors, but it will be expensive and they may be unable to do so.

Is it too late already? Who knows, maybe. What can they do? Put their very best brains to Facebook. Spend the months necessary to really understand the subtleties and nuances of the different elements – audiences, usage, advertising and marketing strategies, pages, communities and lots more. Or, they can ask an expert to help them. Like me.

Unconvinced? Here’s a case study. Let’s take Angling as an example. One of the best “niches” because it has a large and loyal user base, but is very specific. To date there has been no highly targetable online audience outside of specific search phrases typed onto Search Engines. But that happens only when there is already a need. Or in other words, when a successful marketing campaign has created a need. And TV and Radio is useless for niche products. The only option has been niche print titles. There have been few online options for brands that wish to create the need, as they can do with the “eyeballs to advertiser” print model.

You will find a range of niche publications in your market. To say that the vast majority of them are vulnerable is an understatement. I looked hard and couldn’t find a single one with an effective Facebook Page strategy.

Here’s the new competition. More than 6,500 Likes, all anglers and growing like crazy. I know this because Searchvista have developed their Facebook Page strategy. Once we repositioned their Facebook page as a “Facebook Anglers Forum” their likes grew from 43 to almost 7,000 in just a few months.

The owners of these new Pages with all of their Likes can now “speak” to their 6,500 Likes thru their Facebook wall. Just as though they had Facebook friends using a standard Facebook profile. But here’s the rub. Unlike with a Profile, the Page Likes can be targeted through Facebook ads. And they can hit these people wherever they go on Facebook. Even if those people clicked to Like the page once and have never been back. By clicking that Like button, you sign up to receive ads forever from that Page owner. And guess what these page owners are now starting to do? Of course, sell these eyeballs to interested advertisers who will reduce their spend in print.

Which is how Facebook will achieve massive advertising revenues over the next decade. A huge amount of the revenue siphoned from what’s left of print advertising.

Now CC Moore may or may not decide to monetise that audience by selling it to third party advertisers.  But there are thousands of similar audiences being assembled solely for that purpose. In smart ways, at low cost, very quickly and very effectively. And these “niche publications” of the future will surely see another sizeable tranche of niche print publications go to the wall.

If you need advice, get in touch.