The Real Impact of the Australian Newspaper Closures 2020

The closure of regional Australian newspapers and the digitisation of many more had a huge impact on many Australian businesses. See the real impact it had and what to do if you were in our latest read.
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On 9 June 2020, Localsearch shared the initial impact the Australian newspaper closures of 2020 were having on regional businesses via Business News Australia, titled “Print newspapers are dead — now what?”

Australia’s largest print media publisher, News Corp Australia, announced two weeks ago they will be closing 36 suburban and regional newspapers and making a further 76 digital only.

The changes will begin to roll out as of 29 June, which is another hard hit to Australian businesses who rely on newspaper ads to market their business. This news has timed with figures from digital marketing service Localsearch showing an increase in demand for phone books, with requests for books almost doubling in the month of May to the month prior.

Now newspaper advertising is slowly becoming a thing of the past, businesses will need to find alternative options for marketing their products and services. To help, Localsearch has collated a list of the top 5 marketing options under $1,000 to help make the transition easier.

However, 4 months on, we’re seeing the real impacts this has had on the communities who relied on advertising and connecting with news, people and businesses via their newspaper.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

How the 2020 Australian Newspaper Closures Impact Businesses

According to Michael Miller, News Corp Australasia’s Executive Chairman, there was a 60% increase in users of their digital masterheads, but a decrease in advertising during COVID-19. It makes sense; more people were turning to the news, and many businesses were crunching their marketing dollars. 

In May 2020, 54% of surveyed businesses reported they had been impacted ‘a great deal’ by COVID-19, with 30% reducing their staff numbers. With the average price of a single full-page newspaper ad sitting around $600 to $3,500, it’s clear businesses without guidance would be holding tight to every dollar — for one ad. 

However, research showed only 37% of regional Australians rated their internet connection as ‘okay’ or ‘good’, while 48% said it didn’t meet their needs at all. Print publications, like newspapers and phone books, are still high in demand in these areas (as you’ll see in data below), so the closure of the newspapers have a big impact on how they receive information.

Do people still use print to find businesses?

In our June article on the Business News Australia website, we revealed an increased demand in phone books since the news of the newspaper closures. Now, in October, we’re still seeing an average increased demand of around 50% compared to last year. 

As we know, many communities in Australia don’t have sufficient internet access. There are also those who aren’t comfortable with technology. These people rely on community newspapers and phone books to receive news and find businesses for their needs.

However, at Localsearch, we closely monitor community feedback, requests for books and opt-outs of delivery to ensure we’re only printing for and delivering to those who need them. This way, we’re still supporting the communities often forgotten by large corporations.

Alternatives to Newspaper Advertising in 2020

In 2020, digital marketing is obviously the way of the future. However, businesses can’t forget the importance of traditional marketing and advertising, like phone books, billboards and similar. 

For some businesses, it’s the opposite; they have been running only traditional marketing and are hesitant to move into the digital world. Having been working with Australian regional businesses for more than 27 years, this is something we are very passionate about helping with at Localsearch.

We recommend a good place to start for businesses entering the digital space is a website and a business profile on localsearch.com.au. Upgrading a business profile starts from only a $1 a day, and also includes an upgraded ad in your chosen print directory and upgraded profile on the Localsearch App. A website subscription starts from only $19 a week (including hosting), and is essential for any business wanting to future-proof themselves for the unknown (like COVID-19).

Other top options to consider are:

1. Search engine optimisation.

Search engine optimisation (also known as SEO) helps your website be shown in more relevant search results to your products or services, with the goal of increasing user traffic to your site. There are different types of SEO, including Local SEO, which Localsearch has packages starting from $19 a week. 

2. Social media marketing.

Most businesses will have a Facebook page, which they post on occasionally. However, the limited audience organic posts can reach is often frustrating, especially in the beginning. This can make it seem like it’s not worth it to businesses.

As Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are businesses themselves, they do have ad platforms to allow you to reach more people. Social media marketing can be highly effective in reaching a large audience within your target audience, as well as producing leads, if this is what you’re looking for.

Again, Localsearch can help with a tailored social media marketing package for your business.

3. Search engine marketing.

Search engine marketing is the Google and Bing version of a newspaper ad. They allow you to place your business in specific search results at specific times in front of specific people in paid ads.

Localsearch’s Google Ads services ensure you’re making the most of your budget and are tailored to your needs and budget.

How to stop receiving phone books.

  1. Check the spine of the phone book to see which company produces the publication.
  2. If the published is Localsearch, please visit https://business.localsearch.com.au/opt-out/.
  3. For other publishers, visit their website for more information.
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