Commentary

IAB Moves Into The Neighborhood, Releases Guidelines For Local Advertising

Digital interactions by consumers -- which Deloitte expects to influence $0.64 of every $1 spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion -- can make or break local campaigns. That influence translates into ways that brands can interact with consumers locally, much of it through search. 

Guiding marketers through the set-up of local campaigns, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has published a Local Buyer’s Guide providing insights on how to reach these consumers. Numerous tools and platforms exist for creating consumer context, relevance, and engagement, but these guidelines include basic statistics on U.S. digital local advertising, a breakdown of digital platforms, factors to consider when planning a local campaign, best practices, metrics, and examples of success. 

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The biggest digital media channels for advertisers buying local audiences in 2015 include Online and Interactive--defined by BIA/Kelsey as including search, display, and video -- with 11.5% of the total spend, followed by mobile with 4.8%. It also consists of digital sales by traditional media channels like newspapers at 2.5%, TV at 0.7%, radio at 0.8%, and directories at 1.6%.

The perception may seem to be that mostly local businesses buy locally targeted advertising, but national marketers and local SMBs each account for about 36% of spend that targets local audiences, according to the report. The remaining 28% of spending is from larger local businesses. BIA/Kelsey numbers and IAB analysis suggest it will remain the same through 2019.

Small retail businesses allocate more of their budget -- about 43% -- to local digital online advertising compared with other market segments. Technology follows with 42%; entertainment, 37.4%; financial services, 35.9%; professional services, 33%; and home services, 27.7%.

Marketers should also consider cross-screen and cross-channel campaigns especially when reaching out to connect with local audiences. The IAB report points to YP as an example. YP has found 73% of searchers on its service switch devices to complete their local business search. This compares with 63% of searchers across all search providers. 

The IAB report notes that marketers need to address three core elements: presence, discovery, and engagement.

• Presence: digital identity to connect with consumers, from Web sites and social sites to mobile apps.

• Discovery: search and listings using SEO/SEM techniques that allow consumers to find the businesses across screens.

• Engagement: connections that marketers make with locally targeted consumers. 

Most people view location as part of the brand's identity. Local digital marketing presents huge opportunities for marketers, especially as the holidays approach.

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