Columbia Missourian diversifies revenue using Google surveys

November 2, 2015

By Diane Davis

Programs and Outreach Coordinator | NNA

ST. CHARLES, MO—National Newspaper Association convention-goers had an opportunity to hear firsthand how the Columbia Missourian added $45,000 to its revenue stream last year—one nickel at a time—by adding one line of code to the Missourian’s website,

Bryan Chester, strategic communications (ad) manager at the Missourian, talked about the surveys during his flash session presentation, Diversify Digital Revenue with Google Consumer Surveys. Through an agreement with Google, the Missourian nets 5 cents for each question answered by viewers.

At first, Missourian staff tried a first-in-first-out online paywall model, where stories were free for 24 hours and viewers had to subscribe afterward in order to view stories. When that wasn’t successful, they moved to using the Google Consumer Surveys as an accompaniment to their paywall. Doing this, they have generated an additional $45,000 in digital income within the first year. Chester said the survey completion rate is running 65 percent to 70 percent at the Missourian. Google shares the survey completion demographics with the Missourian.

Chester added that like any sales inventory, there are peaks and valleys with GCS. To his knowledge, the Missourian has experienced no technical issues by using the Google surveys, and the system works across all computer platforms.

To see an entire story on the Missourian site, readers can subscribe or do a short survey—one to three questions. A newspaper has the option to create its own surveys with this system, but marketing the results is prohibited because Google reserves that right. 

Chester can be reached at


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