Metro gives local advertisers an online boost

With a new shopping section on its website, Toronto's Metro daily newspaper hopes to increase revenue while adding value to local retailers that can't afford to advertise online.

Newspaper advertising is beneficial for local retailers who want to reach a mass audience, but many of them don’t have the budgets to also promote their deals online. With the launch of a new online shopping section, Metro has found a way to add value for local merchants in Toronto who advertise in print by promoting their deals through their website.

‘The national advertisers will do your typical banners, but the local advertisers, they’re not online savvy yet. A lot of them don’t have their own websites either,’ says Tracy Day, retail sales director for Metro Toronto. About 50% of Metro‘s advertisers are local, and while they reach more than 450,000 readers in print, another 120,000 monthly visitors also read

Through a partnership with London-based City Media, which helps traditional media transition to online, Metro has launched The new section gathers the best deals for thrifty shoppers by running the advertisements from local retailers promoting specials or deals. The service costs the advertisers an additional $20, and the section will be promoted on the Metro homepage and with newspaper ads. The deals also show up in a search engine, says Day.

‘We did research and we found that around 91% of consumers actually search online for products and services,’ says Day. ‘People like to shop locally but they had a hard time finding local merchants online,’ she tells MiC.

Metro will test run the section for six months in Toronto, and if it proves profitable will extend the service to other markets. They hope to have as many as 150 offers online per month. Two days after the launch about 25 advertisers were already on board.

‘It sounds cheap but it’s volume,’ say explains about the revenue model for the publisher. ‘Not only that, but it’s an extra value for the print advertisers saying ‘we’re also going to get you online,’ which no one else is doing.’