Binoculars sitting on table in daylight
By Tom Burg Jun 22 2015 Blog

The New Local: Opportunity On Every Corner

It used to be that local advertising evoked images of small retailers like mom-and-pop stores who needed to reach only those consumers who lived and worked in their vicinity. These advertisers represented the long tail of ad sales opportunity – there were a lot of them, but they occupied fragmented markets with small budgets and poor synergies.

With the advent search engine marketing via Google AdWords, local advertising began to evolve. AdWords allowed small businesses to target local consumers online at home or at work. But access to display opportunities was still limited.  Let’s call that Local 1.0.

Welcome to Local 2.0

Today with the rise of mobile devices and the growth of programmatic buying — local is back.  What was once about the long tail or search marketing, is now about location-based targeting.  And it applies to businesses of all sizes.  Today with a self-service Demand Side Platform (DSP), the savvy local business owner can simply log in and start advertising with as little as $500. No minimum contracts, no hassles.

But what makes this opportunity ultra sweet for local business owners is the rise of the mobile consumer. With many local businesses seeking foot traffic – and nearly all consumers carrying smartphones – the ability to target prospects who are within a few blocks of their location is very compelling.

Hyper-local is the new local

As programmatic buying technology provides access to almost every mobile user, more and more advertisers are able to use hyper-local data as the primary way to reach new customers. GPS information from individual mobile devices gives you the exact location of your consumer, so you can target based on coordinates and radius.

Just log in to any ad marketplace and see for yourself. Across ad exchanges and Supply Side Platforms, about 44 percent of mobile inventory is location-aware. That’s seven billion impressions per day! This is a major reason why eMarketer is proclaiming that programmatic is will drive mobile ad spending toward a 37-percent growth clip in 2016.

The capability to locate consumers via their mobile devices benefits businesses both small and large. Now a pizza chain in Los Angeles can automatically reach pedestrians within 150 yards of any of its 10 locations. The local coffee shop in Boise can find consumers in proximity to the nearest Starbucks. At a larger scale, Peets Coffee can target neighboring Starbucks locations nationwide. And Starbucks too can reach consumers based on their proximity to a competitor in real time.

Everyone lives somewhere

Thanks to these crucial innovations we finally have the technology to do local right – with precision and at scale. For small businesses mobile technology is a great equalizer, giving your local coffee shop on the corner a shot at competing with the big guys. Now they can reach prospective customers in the moments that matter most…like when they’re seeking that mid-afternoon caffeine buzz!