Mail Online is about to announce a ‘breakthrough’ advertising deal allowing the site to cash in on its core British visitor base.
Daily Mail political editor Benedict Brogan said last night that the agreement would be announced “shortly” but would not reveal any further details.
Speaking at a Polis event at the London School of Economics, Brogan said: “We’ve invested vast sums in the internet. The Guardian has nearly drowned itself, the amount of money it’s put into building up the Guardian online.
“The Daily Mail now has a massive traffic rate, but the vast majority of that is from America. One of the things that we do at the Mail which other newspaper websites don’t do is we break down our figures and we publish how many real British users we have.”
He added: “I’m told that that is actually quite significant and that’s why we will shortly be able to announce a breakthrough advertising deal. We’re finally trying to find ways of making money off this.
“Everybody boasts about this huge hit rate figure but nobody’s ever found any way of making any useful money out of it.”
In his keynote lecture to the Society of Editors conference in Bristol earlier this month, Mail editor Paul Dacre said Mail Online attracted an average of 450,000 British unique users “on any given weekday”.
He said the average time spent on the site by these UK users was nine minutes per visit, and more than 20 per cent of them paid more than one visit to the site each day.
Dacre said national newspaper websites had been an “editorial success” – but it was now up to the commercial side of the industry to “find ways of making a profit from those numbers”.
He added: “Yes, the Mail was late to the internet revolution – though through our tardiness, we avoided losing the millions that others expended on the web in those early days.”
According to the September national newspaper ABCe figures, Mail Online is fourth in terms of global monthly unique users, up more than 50 per cent year on year to 17.91m, behind the Guardian, Telegraph and Times.
But Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke has described the global user figure as an “utter waste of time” and “confusing” for advertisers.
He told the Society of Editors conference: “Which newspaper in the world would judge itself by looking at the people who read it at least once and then counting them all equally? Why should somebody who visits you once a month the same as someone who visits you every day?
‘We have got to project ourselves as premium sites by emphasising the loyalty of our readers. We should advertise ourselves as premium sites rather than just more junk on the internet.”