If you’re the publisher of a local newspaper, then you know your competition is no longer another newspaper when it comes to growing your digital ad revenue. You’re fighting with Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, Yelp…. a list that seems to be ever growing. But does any one of these companies hold a dominant position in your market?
In an eye-opening article in the August issue of Local Media Today, author Gordon Borrell says no: The local digital advertising market is highly fragmented, with no one service holding anything close to a dominant position. Borrell’s findings are based on a survey he is conducting of local advertisers across the United States. These early findings are based on more than 1,400 responses. (He’s shooting for 8,000.)
When asked an open ended question regarding where local SMB advertisers are spending their local digital dollars, 91% offered unique responses.
Among Borrell’s findings:
- Heavily-advertised companies like Web.com, Angie’s List, Wix, and Reputation.com had no more than 3 mentions each.
- Anyone trying to serve auto dealers faces heavy-duty competition. Purecars, Cobalt, Autotrader.com, Dealer.com, Ford Direct and others popped up frequently in many local markets.
- In some locales, the names of a local newspaper or cable company popped up as frequently as big names like Facebook and Google.
Borrell’s take-away, which I share, is that this fragmentation represents significant opportunity for local news operations to achieve dominance with the right strategy. While sites like Autotrader and Angie’s List certainly work for searchers, local newspapers are still the best discovery vehicle out there. You have the audience, trust, relationships and, with the right strategy, reach that these companies can never duplicate.
The trick is turn those assets into action by converting discovery into connections between your advertisers and readers. If you can nail that, then you will be the one dominating Borrell’s survey question.