XAD | 12 / 12 / 2013
Day two of BIA/Kelsey’s Leading In Local Conference In San Francisco featured a number of disparate discussions. Among the standouts: a new hyperlocal model fueled by video content, a pair of forthcoming user-generated content-oriented apps from Wanderful Media and the looming influence of big data on local markets.
SAN FRANCISCO — A new hyperlocal model fueled by video content, a pair of forthcoming user-generated content-oriented apps from Wanderful Media and the looming influence of big data on local markets were among the standouts on a day of disparate discussions at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local conference Wednesday.
The hyperlocal model came from Steven Ludwig, the co-founder and president of WilliamsonSource, a site rooted in an affluent Nashville, Tenn., suburb and conceived as a template for a wider, scalable play.
The site, which reports on local news, sports, weather and lifestyles, has video content baked into its DNA, and its chief journalist is a former local TV anchor.
Ludwig says that stories with a video component perform 35%-50% better than those without, but the site is also building much of its momentum through its commercial video production as well.
WilliamsonSource works with only one advertiser per category, Ludwig says, and each gets its own bespoke introductory video. That video goes into rotation on the site, and many advertisers have also lifted it for their own websites, he says.
The videos have been enormously resonant with advertisers. “That emotional feedback versus the analytical feedback makes a huge difference for the customer,” he says. “It becomes the first step in how we build a relationship with those customers.”
The next step is often offering a suite of digital marketing services, a process whose wheels have been greased with the initial video making for an easier upsell.
Ludwig says he’s now targeting similar markets for expansion. “We feel like we’ve been able to design and build this in a way that’s scalable,” he says.
At Wanderful Media — which has raised $40 million to build an interactive, digital extension on the free standing insert concept so integral to the newspaper industry — CEO Ben Smith IV hinted at two apps slated for the first quarter 2014.
The first enables a user in a grocery store to point his or her smartphone at an item, say a six-pack of soda, and check its price based on circular data from the store’s competitors. Call it an optical, accelerated version of showrooming.
The second app takes more of a gamefied approach to coupon usage, inviting users to scan their coupons used during the week to measure against the full potential savings they may have earned, as gleaned from Wanderful’s many data points.
Big data, which seems to stand as a potentially integral tool, as well as a taunt to local marketers who’ve yet to grasp its full implications for their business, was the subject of an animated exchange between a panel of its nascent players.
Darian Shirazi, founder and CEO of Radius, explained how he could channel data to help a local insurance agent do more efficient prospecting for potential customers, while Dan Hight, VP of channel partnerships for xAD, explained how data insights can improve targeting and performance for mobile ads.
Jeremy Geiger, CEO and founder of Retailigence, illustrated how his data has spurred a partnership with one of the nation’s largest shopping mall companies, enabling customers to ultimately better find what they’re looking for inside of the malls themselves.
Geiger says such data — and its providers — needn’t be feared by agencies, but rather embraced as the next frontier for better orienting them. This data can help “define exactly what to go with to measure or to optimize on,” he says, and a whole new breed of company is emerging as only the latest in an ever-changing landscape of media and marketing partners.