Debunking 4 Local Advertising Myths

Fact or fiction – local advertising is a waste of online marketing dollars? If you answered fact, you could be missing a potential $38 billion market opportunity.

The challenge is how do brands take advantage of deploying the right tools to reach and engage local consumers. Not everyone gets it right.

Of all the misconceptions brand marketers have about ad networks and local advertising, perhaps the most critical is that it can’t be done well. In reality, it’s been something of an after-thought. As a result, some brands don’t embrace the nuanced approach necessary to target those markets in a way that drives desired results.

Today, it’s essential to debunk some of the long-standing myths that are holding local advertisers back from success in their local market.  Here are four brands need to know to avoid the pitfalls of misinformation

Myth:Geotargeting and publisher targeting are the same.

Geotargeting serves ads to consumers based on their location — the focus here is on the device and its location. Whereas publisher targeting serves ads to publisher sites whose content or audience fit the advertiser’s target demographic — the focus is on the Web site and its audience.

Publisher targeting offers unique opportunities to reach consumers when they are engaged with the content they value the most, and it’s been proven to drive a lift in brand awareness, site visits and actual purchases. Brand marketers’ and agencies’ growing interest in targeting media properties with local audiences — expected to reach $38.1 billion by 2016 — demonstrates the value they see in publisher targeting. Brand marketers need to use a blend of these channels to provide the best ROI based on campaign goals. In addition, it is important to test campaigns through these channels to determine what works best.

Myth:Larger local ad network offerings allow brand marketers and agencies to target via time of day and placement.

Some of the biggest names in the industry that support local ad networks claim to give advertisers the freedom to schedule the time of day a target audience will be served an ad, and where on the page the ad will appear. In reality, the process of targeting time can be arduous and requires careful manual adjustment, if it can be done at all.

Assuring ad placement is, for many local ad networks, a premium service, and the larger players often don’t offer the kind of customization necessary to assure the ads you pay for are seen.

Myth:You can’t effectively target a local market. In the years since the IAB outlined best practices and strategies for targeting a local market, advertisers have come to recognize the value of effective local targeting and have continued to bank on local ad efforts. 

Local markets have their challenges: It’s important to monitor multiple channels in order to optimize a local campaign and avoid wasted spending. The biggest mistake is to assume local targeting entails too much guesswork. In order to better target an audience, a smart local ad network will monitor the performance of all channels in a campaign and optimize accordingly.

Myth: “In-view” ads are consistent across site and ad type.

Many advertisers and agencies take for granted that serving a user an ad means the ad will be viewable to that user — but it’s far from a given. The truth is, in-view ads are inconsistent and vary by site and ad type.

A recent comScore report found that among the 5.3 trillion impressions served in the U.S., three out of 10 were never seen by the end user, while another comScore study of 2 billion impressions from 12 major brands similarly found 31% of those display ads weren’t viewable.

The latter study found dramatic inconsistencies in viewability across Web properties — in one case, 100% of ads on one property were in-view, but only 7% were in-view on another, all within the same ad campaign.

Other recent studies even show that up to about half of all ads placed directly may stay in view for one second or less. Advertisers should consider partnering with a vendor that can assure consistent visibility on all properties in which the ad appears.

Local ad networks can help reach audiences on sites at the right place, the right time and wherever they may be, including on mobile and tablet web properties. But the key takeaway is to look closely at what that network promises and what it can deliver.


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