The Local Media Consortium’s name speaks for itself. An alliance of 800 daily newspapers and 200 local broadcasters, the LMC is focused on boosting community outlets all over the US. Enter Google. On February 24, 2014, the search giant announced a deal with the LMC to create a private ad exchange for local publishers with the goal of integrating programmatic ad budgets that scale at the local level. The LMC-Google deal can be seen as a step towards bringing local publishers into the fold of contemporary ad practices. Hovering over this partnership is whether local businesses can be enticed into advertising using these new channels.
We’ve mentioned before that social search is replacing traditional search, which in turn is slowly reducing the importance of SEO. New media entities such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy have embraced this shift by optimizing articles to get a maximum of shares on Facebook. Advertisers have flocked to each by the promise of page views and messaging that is made stickier by the social element.
Local papers don’t have the national presence to take advantage of that kind of scale, but what they do have is just as important: a local community of readers bound by geography and shared experience. These are the kinds of social communities that are relatively overlooked or misunderstood by Silicon Valley.
Whether these observations reveal an underlying hunger for local businesses everywhere to advertise locally is still unresolved. But in the context of the LMC-Google announcement, we can assume that we’re only just beginning to see a new push to apply on a local level the same marketing infrastructure used by major businesses. For Google, the question remains: if they build it, will local advertisers come?