BoSacks: No B.S.: The Benefit of Tracking Trends
I will confess to my readers that in the boom of the 1990s I did a fair amount of day trading in the stock market. I was pretty good at it, but let's keep that between us multithousand readers, and no one tell the IRS. Actually I'm just kidding about that part; I always considered them a silent partner in all my operations.
One of the things I learned, and the tip that I would like to discuss with you in this annual tips and tricks issue, is the concept of trend analysis. It is a simple formula for calculating predictable actions. It can be used for damn-near anything, not just the market.
Staying with a stock market approach, I'm sure you are aware that stock prices drift daily. Sometimes they go up, and sometimes they go down, based on the sentimentality of the day. Each day's closing price is your benchmark for analysis.
Here is the formula for spotting trends: Look for something (not only stocks) that has higher highs and higher lows. Since we know prices will fluctuate, you are looking for a trend line. This trend line is a directional pointer. Even though the item we are watching goes up and down, if the low points get higher each day then you have a positive trend. If the highs are lower and the lows are lower, you have a negative trend.
So what does this have to do with publishing? Pretty much everything. If you track any part of our industry, you will see various trends. Newsstand circulation is one worth watching. For decades we have seen sales fluctuations—they go up and down—but the trend is negative.
What about digital advertising? Here we see higher highs in revenue and also higher lows. The simple conclusion here is that the trend is for digital revenue to steadily increase.