March 12, 2007
Local advertising is a tough nut to crack. Not sure how many hundreds of millions of venture dollars have been lost chasing the local pipe dream, but it is several.
Even Google seems to have broken a pick here, with the widely reported failure of its dMarc acquisition and the recent departure of the dMarc founders.
Tom Evslin has a good post on would Google could do with local:
“My suggestion for Google (which has done pretty well in most things without my suggestions) is to turn the thrust of this business around to play to their own strengths and the strengths of the radio stations. Give the radio stations a platform on which to build their online presence. Help the radio stations to serve their advertising customers better by selling ad campaigns which include both radio and online – particularly online pay-per-click triggered by search with local keywords or national keywords mapped to local outlets. Let the radio stations share in Google revenue for Google inventory rather than trying to take a share of the station’s existing revenue. Let the radio stations be the local SEO experts (with Google’s help).
It may well be true that distributing national ads to local stations will become a commodity business and the fat share that ad agencies get now will be whittled down. Could well become an auction business with only a platform provider as a middleman. But this isn’t the main opportunity in local advertising.
Delivering web benefits to local markets means building from local strengths and giving local organizations an opportunity to use the web to serve their own needs. Local ad salesman won’t be disintermediated nearly as easily as their national competitors. But helping local radio stations strengthen their service to their local customers is a national business worth of Google.”