Steamboat Springs If the newspaper industry is in a fight for its future, classifieds advertising is the frontline.
Nationwide, spending on newspaper classifieds has fallen 69 percent in the past decade, from $19.6 billion in 1999 to $6 billion last year. The economy played a role — when unemployment triples and the housing market crumbles, recruitment and real estate advertising are going to fall. But even when the economy was humming, newspaper classifieds were losing market share to online competition from classifieds sites including Craigslist and Monster.com.
Despite the industry’s challenges, research shows that newspaper classifieds remain a vibrant outlet for finding homes, cars, jobs and deals in Steamboat Springs. Readership of the print classifieds, as measured by circulation of the Steamboat Today, has grown more than 10 percent in the past decade. During that same stretch, online classifieds have become an increasingly important part of our business.
Besides the home page, the most-viewed page on SteamboatToday.com is the employment listings. Rentals rank fourth and merchandise is eighth. Overall, traffic to our classifieds site — ColoradoClassifiedsNow.com — has grown by 21 percent in the past year and classifieds now account for 5,083 pageviews per day, or about 17 percent of our traffic.
Moreover, a survey in August showed that 91 percent of Steamboat residents would start their job search by consulting our classifieds first. Fifty-five percent would start their search for a used car with us, and 50 percent would start their search for real estate with us.
Still, there’s work we can do. And that’s why today we have launched a new look for our classified pages. There’s a new full-color automotive section on Page 39. We’ve added color and photos to the real estate and rentals sections. We’ve adjusted pricing so that every auto, real estate, rental and merchandise ad can include a photo. We’ve added yellow, red, green and gray screens to help ads stand out.
We’ve also upgraded our system for placing ads online. It’s simpler and faster with fewer windows to go through.
If you have questions or comments about our classifieds, call or email me. Even better, call the classifieds department at 970-871-4255 or email classifieds@SteamboatToday.com.
Scott Stanford is general manager of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Call him at 970-871-4202 or email sstanford@SteamboatToday.com.