Selling program book advertising is hard. At least, that’s the traditional wisdom if your advertising vehicle is printed program books. And what makes it so hard? Both you and the advertiser are faced with a black box! You never know precisely who is seeing the ads. And as a result, you can’t guarantee any kind of viewership or impression rate, let alone guess at how many people have even opened a program book.
With Paper Program Books, Ad Impressions Are Anyone’s Guess
Everyone who has ever sold program book advertising tells the advertiser, “Well, the performance runs for one month, and we’re printing 10,000 program books, so your ad will be seen 10,000 times.” But in reality, maybe only 5,000 tickets are sold… so half the program books are never distributed and end up in the trash! Of the remaining 5,000, who’s to say how many people actually opened the program book? When the advertiser gets angry and demands a refund or cancels their ad agreement because your arts organization couldn’t prove ad impressions, they’re left with a negative experience all around and a poor impression of your performing arts organization.
Digital Program Books Bring Clarity, Visibility, and Accountability
Enter digital program books. With a digital program book built for handling advertisers, proving ad impressions is a breeze. You can capture statistics on just about every aspect of the medium: from overall usage to click-throughs and more. Even better, advertisers no longer have to jockey for the best placement: you can highlight advertisers and sponsors throughout your digital program book, integrating both static and animated ads into the bios, the program notes, the table of contents, or even on sponsored text messages. When you take all of the flexibility digital program book advertising has to offer combined with the visibility of data analytics and the ability to measure ad impressions, the possibilities are endless. And most importantly, everyone is happy.
A final word of caution: don’t publish a PDF version of your program book on a website and then expect advertisers to pour in! A PDF file, even one embedded in a website, has nowhere near the interactivity and flexibility of a digital program book. Forget about capturing stats or impressions. You’re essentially just sharing a picture of your program book! As Drew McManus of Adaptistration points out, “the PDF approach is an entirely inadequate solution.” Instead, look to a digital program book and integrated digital advertising model to really capture the information you need.
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