Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Catch-Up with our man from McVay Media

Seven Lessons for Interactive Local Media

BIA KelseyLast week, BIA-Kelsey held an exceptional conference for interactive local media in Boston. Among the speakers were Gail Goodman (CEO/Constant Contact), Evan Cohen (GM/Foursquare), Eric Eichmann (COO/LivingSocial), and executives from The Washington Post, AOL, Eventbrite,, and AT&T Interactive.

The common thread of all attendees and speakers was an interest in developing local interactive revenue. The SMB market, local buyers, effective digital business plans, and technology trends were all on the agenda.

Keeping you connected to the latest in the field of developing digital audience and revenue, here are my top seven takeaways from the conference:

1. The Local Ad Market is Growing
BIA-Kelsey estimates that $136.1 billion will be spent in 2011 on local advertising. That will grow by $6 billion in 2012 and $2.8 billion in 2013./

Also, the steady shift towards digital media as an advertising/marketing vehicle continues. In 2011, 16.2% of all local media dollars will be spent on digital marketing. That number will grow to 17.9% of all local ad dollars in 2012, and by the end of 2013, one in every five dollars spent on local advertising will be on digital.

2. Big Digital Ad Buyers Say, “Do Your Homework”
Elnora Palms, Director of U-Haul’s local search initiative offered this advice to vendors who wish to approach U-Haul: “Come prepared. Have an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. Know we are more than moving trucks. That allows us to say this is a business that seriously wants to partner because they have done the legwork.” When asked if local agents/dealers of U-Haul are aware of their digital marketing options, Palms confessed that most local dealers are confused about all of their media options and choices. “We are coaching and consulting with them at all times, and it’s difficult and time consuming,” she said. Is the local education process an opportunity for local media sellers? DEFINITELY!

3. Think Hyper-Relevant content more than Hyper-Local.
Several media companies have invested in creating local content for consumers. Just because content is related to something “local” doesn’t mean it’s interesting and valuable to your end-user. Gannett Digital Network’s VP/GM Josh Resnick shared that they have developed portals targeting Moms ( and high school sports enthusiasts ( “Our goal is to find out what’s relevant to the audience and present it to them. Hyper-relevant is ultimately more important than hyper-local,” said Resnick.

4. Explain Your Value to Your Customers.
Constant Contact is a company that sells e-mail marketing capabilities to small and medium sized businesses around the world. At the BIA-Kelsey conference, Constant Contact’s CEO, Gail Goodman, said, “Send reports to customers proactively. You cannot count on them to recognize the value of what they’re getting. They love any kind of stat that tells them how well they’re doing. You must define value for them.”

5. Daily Deals… Still Proving Itself as a Business.
There are more than 400 daily deal sites now, according to Jim Moran, founder of Yipit. He pointed out that there is a low barrier to entry for new deal sites, but there is a high barrier for these companies to scale and grow. Deal-a-day players with more offers are able to sell more, which leads to more offers, sellers, and company growth. Retention of customers is key to businesses succeeding and profiting from Deal-a-day marketing. With most businesses offering large discounts, the initial economics of a deal are break-even (or worse). In order to succeed, the average business must convert 10-20% of its deal buyers into a second-time customer.

6. Quick Facts on the Daily Deal Business.
  • Groupon remains the No. 1 deal site, generating three times the volume of LivingSocial, but Groupon has a lower revenue per deal than LivingSocial.
  • Groupon says it is developing a mobile app. When the app opens, users will see two buttons: “I’m Hungry” and “I’m Bored.”
  • The breakage rate (unredeemed vouchers) on deals is roughly 20%.
  • “Hair removal” is the best revenue-generating category.
  • Among merchants who have done deals, 93% say they would like to do another. Asked if they would shift spend from other media to fund deals, 43% said yes.

(source of quick facts and graph: BIA-Kelsey)

7. Invest in the User Experience of Your Site.
Think of your website like a store. Don’t make your customer walk to the back of the store to buy milk. That’s not instant gratification. Research what your audience wants by watching your websites’ analytics closely and doing user testing / focus groups. Then, put the best content right on the front page. Make them click for their second helping of your best content—but don’t make them click past the first page to get at least a taste.

About the Writer

DisplayFuture-minded and passionate, Daniel Anstandig’s experience includes developing digital business strategies for media companies, designing content strategies for broadcast and interactive, and coaching executives. He is President of McVay New Media, and editor of's new media newsletter, "Connected."

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