Full Speed Into the Horizon
It's been about two months since we launched Broadstreet XPRESS − what we believe to be the future of advertising for local news and trade magazines.
When we first launched, Broadstreet was more or less a direct competitor of OpenX (RIP) and Google DFP. We had some extra features, but there wasn't much differentiating our service other than "editable ads" and the simple fact that our interface is more intuitive.
Over time, as we've built features to address our customer's needs (mostly newspapers, city magazines, and trade publications), we have become a specialized ad platform that caters very closely to the needs of publishers who sell their own ads.
As we've moved down that path of specialization, we've taken on heavier costs. Some of the particularly valuable services we offer (deep analytics, whitelabeled PDF reports, powerful newsletter ads, our library of ad formats, social media integrations) require extra hardware and infrastructure. It requires more customer support because innovative products require more education. And as we continue to specialize, we'll need to market our services, hire additional staff, and do the typical things that a growing company does.
For these reasons, it doesn't make sense to offer an a la carte pricing model like Broadstreet Light any longer. Every customer must be subscribed to our services for at least a year at a monthly minimum cost. Broadstreet Light, the pay-as-you-go tier, will no longer be offered. There will be no migration or technical hurdle to manage − once you sign up for XPRESS, its features become immediately available inyour account.
As of October 31st, 2016, accounts that haven't yet switched to Broadstreet XPRESS will be locked.
We have been extremely flexible in working with customers, partners and their various needs. If you are a customer and have concerns or questions, find us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me, at email@example.com.
We're A Different Kind of Company, But You Can Rely on Us
At this point, keep in mind that Broadstreet was bootstrapped a bit over 4 years ago, is in great health, and has never taken an outside investment. There will never be a day when investors decide to pass on a financing round, leaving the company in trouble, forcing it to shutter. This happens in VC-backed startup land all of the time. We have a different philosophy when it comes to running a business. When you work with Broadstreet, you're working with a bona fide SMB near NYC, backed by professionals from the advertising and content industries.
We should also note that since Broadstreet is a premium service (not free), there also won't be a day we are forced to shut down due to finances or unmitigated strain on resources. This has happened with competitors who have offered free adserving. Serving ads is quite expensive, expecially when you serve billions (or trillions) of ads per year.
We happen to think it's a matter of time before Google decides that hosting tens of thousands of publishers for free on DFP isn't worth the cost to the company and its shareholders.
We Will Always Listen to Our Customers and Build Their Needs Into Our Product Roadmap
Broadstreet, at this point in time is much, much different (and more powerful) than Google DFP and friends
We see a major divide in the digital advertising world. There are those that:
- Sell ads or sponsored content (directly or through a network) on a CPM basis and essentially compete with the rest of the world by attempting to attract page views and high-value audiences.
- Sell ads directly to advertisers and attempt to bring more value, brand visibility, and overall performance to a campaign
We see group #1 as a mix we don't want to be heavily involved with. That sub-industry is rife with click fraud, declining CPMs, ever-expanding competition, malware, ad blocker problems, etc. Ad formats have become so boring and standardized that they hardly perform. This is the group that gives display advertising a bad name.
The prevailing philosophy of digital ad sales tends to harp on the importance of CPM-based sales and IAB standards. We think that is misguided − we find that the most successful digital ad sales people sell value and relationships.
That's where group #2 comes in. Group #2 defines the publications that are carving out a healthy existence selling high-value, high quality ad campaigns. These publishers don't have to stick to IAB standard because they aren't dealing with networks. They have personal relationships with their advertisers. They can be flexible with pricing. They can deliver quality brand experiences. Most importantly, they can make sure their pricing sustains their staff and business. That's the kind of publisher landscape we deal with.
While publishers in group #2 inevitably deal with competition from group #1 (Google and Facebook most frequently), we firmly believe that the lack of creative power, poor performance, continuation of bot fraud, and popularity of ad blockers will drive advertisers back to group #2, where Broadstreet XPRESS has been doing a pretty stellar job.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Can you easily create an ad as a mockup before an appointment with a potential client?
- Do you sell ads that impress advertisers and engage readers?
- When it comes to reporting, can you show your advertisers where, geographically, that an ad's clicks and impressions are coming from? Can you prove those clicks aren't from robots?
- Do you offer your advertisers automated, in-depth PDF reports?
- Do you offer powerful ad formats and social media intagrations in newsletters?
- Do you provide more overall value than your competition?
- Can you email your ad platform provider and receive a knowledgeable response from a real human?
If you run a real, value-based publishing business, the answer to all of those questions should probably be "yes." We will always make sure your answers to those questions are yes − and we will always make sure they we help you raise the bar beyond your competition's reach.
We know the monthly minimum for XPRESS is a difficult jump for some. We would love to keep you on board if you haven't already made the switch. We can assure that the new pricing be quickly justified, and we'll always be working on new ideas that will ultimately push your business forward. We have no doubt that our exisiting XPRESS customers would stand behind that.
PS: Some customers have rapidly made XPRESS pay for itself via the XPRESS MC News Feed by selling 5 - 10 positions at $10 - $20/month, or selling a single ad at $200/month.