A research done by S. Sriram, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, suggests that less than 8 percent of the print advertising decline was caused by shift to online ads on the paper's website.

Most of the decline in print, he suggested, was due to other reasons, particularly search advertising.

Sriram's paper, co-authored by Shrihari Sridhar of Penn State's Smeal College of Business, suggests some strategies for newspaper advertising managers to try to recapture some of that lost revenue.

Sriram and Sridhar obtained information from a top newspaper that covers a large US metropolitan area. It contained account-level advertisement spending from January 2007 through December 2011 and allowed them to see each advertiser's total spending on media outside of the newspaper.

"The print advertising decline for newspapers has been huge. We're talking a decline of 51 percent from 2006 to 2010. There are all kinds of theories about what's driving it," Sriram said.

Sriram suggests a few strategies to try to reverse the trend, including using new technology to make online advertising on a newspaper site more attractive by letting them track and target customers.

"The good news for newspapers is that advertising technology is getting smarter in multiple ways," Sriram said.

"You can do more targeting based on a user's browsing history. There are also systems that can accurately measure online ad effectiveness," he added.


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