Local Yokel Debuts Hyper-Local Online Ad Service

From restaurant reviews to 'round-the-corner news, the Web is fast becoming as locally relevant as a small-town Pennysaver. As a result, a new breed of marketers and marketing service providers is emerging to capitalize on this trend.

One such provider is Local Yokel Media, which just debuted a hyper-local online ad marketplace specializing in monetizing hyper-local ad impressions.

LYM's mission is to help local or national business serving a defined geography to target audiences in their immediate service areas -- and on local online content communities in particular.

"Hyperlocal content, specifically, community-level content being produced both by individuals and institutions, has proliferated as local coverage by more traditional, offline local media organizations has waned," according to Dick O'Hare, founder and CEO of LYM.

"This presents a compelling ad targeting opportunity for local, regional and national brands looking to target extremely tight geographies," O'Hare added. "We have found this level of local contextual relevance drives ad performance. In some instances, it can even outperform search engine marketing."

The hyperlocal market segment has been growing rapidly over the last few years with market entrants including AOL's Patch, Gannett and Post Local. While many of these publishers and platform providers focus on content, however, LYM is focused exclusively on its monetization.

"Genuine local targeting and ad creative can produce dramatic response-rate improvements for marketers," according to Greg Sterling, of Sterling Market Intelligence and Opus Research. "There are billions of dollars in the local market. This is a giant opportunity that has been waiting for a scalable platform and approach."

With its proprietary ad serving platform and so-called "cartographic" technology, LYM says it can aggregate hyper-local Web sites -- or sites whose content addresses a specific community -- local blogs and sites of community newspapers -- and then organizes them by ZIP code.

Local Yokel Media's internal campaign data show this level of "geo-contextual" ad targeting -- targeting down to the community level in contextually relevant content -- drives ad receptivity and overall ad performance.

Prior to founding LYM, O'Hare held senior management positions at DoubleClick, AOL Media Networks, and Yahoo.

According to an LYM representative, the start-up has so far raised angel funding from Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, and former founder of Real Media and TACODA; Joe Apprendi, founder and CEO of Collective Media; and Joe Zawadski, founder and CEO of Media Math.

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