As local television viewership continues to decline, broadcasters are increasingly looking for ways to expand their offerings to advertisers. One way they’re doing that is by utilizing hyperlocal channels, impressing local businesses with precise targeting and a level of direct ROI that hasn’t traditionally been available with local radio and TV ad buys.
Of course, hyperlocal advertising isn’t something broadcasters should jump into without first doing a fair amount of research. To find out more about what broadcasters should know before getting involved in hyperlocal, we consulted with experts in the fields of local media and online advertising. Here are their tips.
1. Rethink sales from the ground up. Reaching businesses that will benefit most from hyperlocal advertising demands a different approach than that required for regional or national clients. While there are opportunities to work with “national-local” advertisers, much of the opportunity lies with SMBs. The challenge is that their ad budgets are smaller, and current methods of selling to larger clients usually don’t make sense when applied to this market. To be successful requires rethinking sales from the ground up. Systems (human and technological) need to be optimized to the point where a $100 per month sale can be profitable. (Gary Cowan, Datasphere)
2. Explain the benefits of targeted buys. At SourceMedia, we have started a digital agency apart from our traditional brands. This group not only manages new product offerings, but also has domain over our websites and mobile properties. They are constantly evolving those products to get as deep into segmented audiences as possible. For instance, we have a behavioral targeting offering that spans across our three main websites, and our advertisers can segment their ads to reach specific people. This isn’t revolutionary, but it’s surprising to find out how many local businesses have no concept that this can be done — you just have to explain it. The best part is that it leads to other targeted buys, such as direct mail and email. Our revenue goes up, as do our advertisers’ results. (Chris Edwards, SourceMedia Group)
3. Crawl before you run. When it comes to generating revenue through local online media, everyone on your team needs to understand how things work. If your sales team, ad operations team, and e-commerce team aren’t on the same page regarding the process and optimization of these revenue streams, you won’t be successful. Try to crawl before you run. Setting up a robust local advertising program before trying to set up an exchange will get your organization headed in the right direction. (Ezra Kucharz, CBS Local Digital Media)
4. Monetize your email database. Use every touch point with your listeners as an opportunity to grow your email database. Online promotions — like contests, voter’s choice, and deals — can be useful ways to activate these listeners to sign up for your email database. You can then turn around and monetize your database by working with local advertisers to set up targeted email campaigns and other digital programs. (Matt Coen, Second Street Media)
5. Create targeted inventory that is relevant to local merchants. Unlike the larger clients traditionally serviced by local broadcasters, SMBs draw the majority of their business from within a few miles of their locations. The traditional inventory available on broadcaster websites is not the right choice for these businesses, since most of the impressions will be wasted on visitors who have no chance of becoming customers. It is critical to be able to create inventory that can target consumers within a tight enough geographic area to be relevant to these local advertisers. This can be achieved in several ways, and IP-based targeting is not one of them. The explosion of mobile traffic is an excellent opportunity to make headway in this direction. (Gary Cowan, Datasphere)
6. Offer local deals. Digital strategies have to get smarter, and deals are one example. Our deals program at SourceMedia remains the most popular in our market because we focus 90% of our offers to in-market merchants. The national players rarely do local deals in our area any longer, leaving our market largely to us and one other local competitor. It’s pretty clear that our local audiences are primarily interested in our local merchants. That, in turn, is a good testimonial to other traditional products and the desires of those audiences to receive local commercial messages. (Chris Edwards, SourceMedia Group)
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.