5 Tools Hyperlocal Publishers Can Use to Improve Online Ad Sales

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Despite their targeted content, many hyperlocal publishers still struggle to find an effective way to attract online ad dollars from local SMBs. In a survey of 66 local publishers, researchers from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute found that 42% of sites generated 75% or more of their revenue from advertising, and three-quarters of those publications were actively working to increase the revenue they generate.

Salespeople from hyperlocal publications are increasingly turning to turnkey ad platforms in an effort to simplify the process of selling and creating display ads for small business owners. By partnering with companies that do some of the heavy lifting, publishers can provide local advertisers with everything they need to create their own attractive and persuasive display ads.

Here are five platforms that publishers are using to streamline the sales process when working with small business advertisers.

1. Flyerboard
‘s Flyerboard is a platform that publishers can use to quickly convert their advertisers’ images into digital campaigns. Advertisers can turn their existing print campaigns into online ads that are interactive and integrated with social media, while sales reps can create ads for advertisers to review in mere minutes. Flyerboard partners include the Houston Chronicle and the Chicago Sun-Times. Flyerboard is available to publishers on a revenue-sharing basis, with Flyerboard taking a 20% to 30% cut of most sales.

2. AdReady
AdReady offers a white-label solution that publishers can use to attract small business advertisers without having to hire and manage a full-time sales staff. The AdReady platform provides SMBs with templates for building display ads in multiple sizes and formats, depending on the publication’s specifications. Publications like the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and MSNBC.com have all created self-serve platforms for SMB advertisers using AdReady’s technology. AdReady charges a one-time setup fee for agency partners using its white-label solution, along with a percentage commission for all sales made through the platform.

3. Wave2 Media
Hyperlocal publications without full-time sales teams often struggle to provide the personal support and attention that SMB advertisers need. Wave2 Media is a platform that aims to reduce the burden on publishers by providing advertisers with tools for building, booking, and managing their own online ads. Publications with a sales staff in place can also use Wave2’s AdStudio platform to quickly produce visuals and spec ads when pitching new clients. Wave2 has partnered with more than 40 publishing companies, including Hearst and Beacon Media. Wave2’s pricing structure varies based on the individual solutions that a publisher needs.

4. 2adpro
Media companies that don’t have the time or resources to help local advertisers design their online campaigns can outsource their design services to 2adpro. The company’s Virtual Studio solution provides on-demand ad design for web, print, and mobile publications, which frees up time for sales teams to spend working on concept development and strategy with their clients. 2adpro provides production and design services for Scripps, Washington Post, and McClatchy Interactive. The company offers a “utility based” pricing model that varies by client.

5. iPromote
Publishers without an established sales force can sell ads online using iPromote’s enterprise solution. After inserting a line of code and placing a widget on their websites, publishers can start selling advertising that runs across the iPromote network. The platform handles every aspect of the sales process, from ad creation to serving and billing. iPromote partners include Citysearch, HGTV, and Tennessee.com. The company charges publishers a commission on the advertising they sell, and pays out once a month.

Know of other platforms that publishers can use to create and sell display ads on their sites? Leave a description in the comments.


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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.