Booking Blotter App places first in Best Revenue Contest

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Sponsored by a local car dealer, a mobile app listing people who have recently been booked into the Palm Beach County Jail has earned The Palm Beach Post first-place honors (and a $500 prize) in SNPA's Best Revenue Contest.

Booking Blotter App is sponsored by Earl Stewart Toyota, a long-time automotive dealer in West Palm Beach, Fla. Since the app was launched in July, the Booking Blotter App has increased website traffic on the Earl Stewart website by 25 percent.

Of those visitors, 23 percent were new visitors and website engagement has increased by 43 percent. Year-over-year site traffic has increased by 21 percent and search traffic has increased by 28 percent since the Blotter was launched, Palm Beach Post Account Executive Sharon Garden says.

And, it has generated revenue of $60,000 in an annual sponsorship for the paper.

In contest entry materials submitted by Gwen Berry, the paper's innovation manager, she said the auto dealer "is always looking for non-traditional ways to deliver their message.  And, Ideabar, a marketing consultancy of The Palm Beach Post, is always ready to create unique solutions for the paper's clients."  Berry also noted that the auto dealer was looking for ways to build his brand and drive more traffic to his website.

Digital Account Manager Michele Williams and Garden began by looking for where Earl Stewart Toyota would have the greatest visibility on the newspaper's desktop website.  The Booking Blotter Feed is a photo gallery listing new people booked into the Palm Beach County Jail (700,000 page views per month).

Berry said they worked with Digital Projects Manager Gerry Barker and Mobile Editor Nathan Hall to re-create this content as a free mobile app.  The team worked together to create a strategic marketing plan that included print, digital, iPad app interstitials and in-app mobile promotions.  They also included social media promotion and encouraged consumer participation and engagement via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  QR codes were created and placed in print, inside Earl Stewart's showroom and on Earl Stewart's website.  They also promoted the app on a radio show that Earl Stewart hosts.

She said the client is very pleased with the numbers and excited about future partnerships with the paper.

Hall said, "Teamwork on a project like this is key.  We were asked to deliver this project under an extremely tight deadline.  Without the efforts of our design team (Hall, Jeff Sterling and Mark Buzek), we never would have made this happen.  They were absolutely crucial to our success."

Barker said, "The Booking Blotter has been a longstanding popular feature on our website, and turning it into an app was just the unique advertising vehicle this car dealer was looking for.  In only a few months, it has garnered more than 4,500 downloads and 1.8 million page views.  It also marked the first time this advertiser spent anything on digital with The Palm Beach Post. It was truly a win-win all the way around."

When asked what advice she would give another newspaper wanting to do a similar project, Williams stressed the importance of doing a good job promoting the download of the actual app in both their print product and desktop, as well as making the app shareable on social media.

The Palm Beach Post has an average circulation of 96,000.

View PDF containing further details and graphics of promotional materials

In the next eBulletin, we will feature the entry that placed second in SNPA's contest.

Read below what some of our contest judges had to say about this entry.  And, add your own comments.

Comments

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CCrittendon13

This is so cool. Car dealers love stuff like this, and, as with editorial, if it bleeds, it leads!

| Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Great idea! Crime always sells, and people are attracted to these type stories and photos. Results are super!

| Thursday, October 31, 2013
Pat Taylor

Here you have a good example of newspaper selling going forward. A combination of products and offerings, print, web, mobile, all coordinated together in a package big enough to generate real revenue for the paper. You just never know what car dealers will buy, I'm not sure I would have thought to pair them with mug shots.

| Friday, November 1, 2013
mmulholland

Outstanding! It's multi-platform, creative, customer-centric... and quite effective. The "Ideabar" marketing consultancy concept is a fabulous idea, in and of itself.

| Wednesday, November 6, 2013
jack.perkins@theeagle.com

Booking Blotters seem to continue to gain popularity in this digital age. Our natural human curiosity takes over. Great way to generate revenue in a non-traditional way.

| Friday, November 8, 2013
jnoel0921

The idea of creating an app for a feature that was already so well-received was great for the readers, sponsor and newspaper.Good thinkin'!

| Friday, November 8, 2013
jsowell

Wonderful outside of the box idea. Auto guys love having something that no one else has and this is absolutely perfect.

| Friday, November 8, 2013
drussell

Great visibility for the advertiser. These type of slideshows are typically traffic generators. I like the concept.

| Monday, November 11, 2013
dherlinger

Great revenue generated. Kudos to the staff that listened to the advertiser and found a creative way to fill a need.

| Monday, November 11, 2013