June 19, 2020

FSI (Free Standing Inserts) on the Decline

An iphone displaying an online news web page. Digital news is one reason why FSI are on a decline.

How Changes in the Media and Marketing World are Diminishing FSI Success

Restaurants, grocery, and retail stores have been using free standing printed advertisements in newspapers and mail coupon publications for years. In today’s saturated market, consumers are demanding personalized campaign messaging. This has turned the use of FSI into a thing of the past.

Our research has shown a modernized shift in consumer and brand relationships, where most people prefer to be sent customized campaigns that are tailored to their specific wants and needs, rather than generalized messaging. In fact, customized marketing campaigns are seeing triple digit increases in ROIs, store visits, and ticket sizes.

In Q3 of 2019, News America Marketing (NAM), the nation’s leading FSI distributor, saw a 10% drop in production, while News Corporation, a mass media company who owns a majority of US print publishers, such as The New York Post and HarperCollins, reported that stock has dropped 40% since the start of 2020. This dramatic decrease is causing FSIs to consistently lose advertisers, as brands continue to phase out printed inserts.

This decline of general print advertising comes at the same time as News Corporation deciding to make a major cut. On March 30, 2020, they announced they had sold 85% of NAM to private equity firms like the Charlesbank Capital Partners.

As more people have shifted to reading their news online, some newspaper companies are drastically minimizing their distribution, while others are shutting their doors for good. In 2019 alone, the US saw a 9% decrease in print circulation as most brands move toward digital. Brands who are leaving FSIs behind and adopting customized campaigns (hypertargeted direct mail or digital) are proving to be more successful than those sticking with FSI and general print inserts. Brands are noticing consumer disengagement, and with the decline of general print media circulation, FSIs are struggling to compete.

In a world where modern marketing tools give brands the opportunity to directly target the right consumers at the right time with the right message, the ability to personalize is becoming many businesses’ top priority. Personalized messaging helps to grow stronger customer relationships by creating higher consumer engagement, ROI, store visits, and ticket sizes. It’s time to move on from FSI and general print coupons and give your customers the experience they are craving.

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