Local Video Advertising: With Great Challenges, Come Great Opportunities

John McIntyre, CEO at SightlyVideo remains one of the last areas of advertising to penetrate the local advertising market. However, new tools and new platforms have been emerging over the last year or so and the ‘local opportunity’ is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. One of the companies leading the charge on local video advertising is Sightly, a San Diego based start-up. Here John McIntyre, founder and CEO of Sightly, explains why the local video advertising is set to explode.

The seismic shift from single-screen TV to multi-screen video viewing has brought about an explosion in online video advertising over the past 18 months. At the same time, audience data and targeting technology is fuelling growth further still by enabling personalised delivery at the hyper-local level.

Even Mitch Barns, CEO of Nielsen, once a bastion of the single-screen paradigm, said: “Advertising will no longer be just about demographics—it will be about consumers’ behaviours and geographic locations, and brands will be able to reach their precise audience on any device.”

The only flaw in Barns’ assessment is his use of the future tense. Advertisers are already doing this today and there is a revolution taking place in local advertising. For example, big brands can now run national video campaigns featuring localised creatives to deliver more relevant and personal messages, while small to medium sized businesses (SMBs, which you might refer to as ‘SMEs’ if you’re outside of the US) can affordably and precisely deliver dynamic offers that change every day—or even throughout the day—to create both awareness and demand for their local brands.

Surmountable Challenges Ahead

The biggest challenge in this exploding market for advertisers and their service partners is education. Whether they’re a national brand or an SMB, local advertisers need to understand the advantages video advertising will bring, including:

  • Early adopters will gain a strategic and competitive advantageLocal advertisers now need to re-think who comprises their target markets and what it takes to reach them on every screen and at every point in the purchase process most cost-effectively. The technology to fully define target markets and pinpoint each of them with personalised video commercials already exists. The early movers will gain clear advantages in adopting new creative strategies and in using the invaluable insights they’ll get from video ad campaigns.
  • Deliver brand messages locally across multiple-screensFor advertisers who don’t buy TV, online video provides the “holy grail” of awareness and demand generation—i.e. sight, sound and motion—at the local level. This is no small thing when you consider the fact that many small companies have never had the chance to show a consumer an ad explaining what their brand stands for. For example a family-owned pizza chain could have a great story to tell, or a car dealership might be able to showcase their cars in ways they couldn’t before. Then the current crop of TV advertisers can also use them to extend their reach across all screens most cost-effectively in only the areas in which their products or services are sold.
  • Go beyond traditional targeting to pinpoint audiences at scale while saving time and costs Using today’s tools and following best practices it would take an experienced account manager 30 hours to set up one location’s campaign and 12 to 15 hours a month to manage the bid and budget balancing process on YouTube. However, using programmatic ad buying and automated campaign management technology like Sightly’s TargetView platform, one account manager could easily set up and manage 2,500 local campaigns per month.

Building the Local Video Advertising Market

Make no mistake, moving the local video advertising market forward will be one of the industry’s greatest challenges to date. But with great challenges, come great opportunities. And the local video advertising market is unique in that it is one of the few greenfield opportunities left in digital advertising. And it’s one that isn’t solely dependent on simply moving TV money online. This really is a chance to grow the pie.

The advantages of local video advertising are clear for everyone to see: scalable ad personalisation and improved campaign management tools will deliver both cost savings and new revenues. They will also foster innovation and give early movers competitive advantages that could extend for many months or perhaps even years. All we have to do now is ensure that the constituent players recognise the value, so local video advertising has a chance to earn the place it deserves on every company’s media plan.

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