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New Technology Offer Better Ad Targeting for Small Business Owners

At this point, small-to-mid-sized businesses selling local products or services ought to advertise online. Why? SMB's usually make less money and have lower ad budgets, which makes TV a waste. But search-engine marketing isn't enough, which means small-business owners need to dig a little deeper to get their messages in front of targeted audiences.

Car wash owners, for example, have businesses that exist "within a five-mile radius." While SEM yields decent results, the same owner laments that his business would benefit through better targeting by specific location. A car wash is an impulse buy, which is why the owner wishes he could reach those who use their cars to do business, like limousine drivers and real-estate agents, who may need a wash between appointments.

For small-business proprietors like our car wash owner, Skyhook Wireless, a small technology company in Boston, offers software that lets advertisers restrict their ads to users by geographic location, using a technology that identifies the longitude and latitude of anyone using a device with a Wi-Fi antenna. Skyhook's mapping currently covers 70%t of the U.S., and is working on securing deals with Google, Yahoo and other big search engines.

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