Tag Archives: PaperG

Local Display vs. Search: Display Often Wins

Local display doesn’t get as much attention as search for SMBs, but we know that in many situations, it can complement search campaigns, or even produce better results. No one pushes harder on this than PaperG, which has developed a network of local media sites for its automated display solutions, and is now working with 20,000 SMBs. It has put together a great Infographic based on its research, coming up with some striking data.

Supporting the sense that display and search are complementary, PaperG notes that 35 percent of people who see a display ad will later search for the business. It also notes that display is cheaper on a cost per click basis that using radio or direct mail. The average CPM cost is $1.50, compared to $4.50 for radio, and $350 for direct mail.

The cost of a display ad for key verticals also runs substantially less than desktop or mobile search. Dentists, for instance, will pay a CPM of $2.58, compared to $6.13 for desktop search and $3.55 for mobile search.

“We’ve seen display work well when positioned as creating “brand awareness with performance upside,” says CEO Victor Wong in an email. “Certainly advertisers with multiple locations or that spend $1,000+ a month on print advertising benefit from greater brand awareness from online display at far cheaper costs than traditional channels. That said, we’ve now gotten targeted display to start working for single location businesses spending $500/month and with re-targeting, we can get results for as low as $100/month.”

ILM East: eBay’s Milo and PaperG on Local Retail Solutions

Retailers are gravitating in a major way to online solutions that complement their other marketing, according to panelists participating on the retail panel at ILM East in Boston.

Jack Abraham, who founded Milo.com, which was acquired last year by eBay, predicted that every store will need to participate in cross channel shopping in order to stay relevant. Forrester Research apparently thinks so too. Abraham cited Forrester research suggesting that such shopping will account for more than 50 percent of sales by 2013.

Managing inventory online, and using it for promotional purposes, is a big part of it all. “The focus is on real time availability,” says Abraham. In the physical world, popular products that people want are selling out all the time.”

Ultimately, eBay must be considered the player with the greatest potential in the category, Abraham added. It already receives 2 billion ecommerce searches a month, compared to 847 million for Amazon and 226 million for Google. “

PaperG VP Tyler Bosmeny, speaking on the same panel, said that the explosion of retailer data makes cross channel shopping and marketing more inevitable. It is increasingly common to have product data, location data, time data and customer reviews for products, he says. “Analytics will bridge online marketing with offline sales.”

Is Online Inventory Really Here (and Monetizable?) PaperG Teams with WishPond

The ability to track retail inventory has been on the retail wish list for years. Retailers advertise goods, and then disappoint customers when they don’t have them in stock. Or they have loads of stock in the store, and don’t know they need to promote it to deplete it. Or they have a lot of inventory in one location, but can’t steer customers to the right store.

Solutions have been in the works for some time, for various functions and purposes. Some have been telecom-oriented. McDonalds, for instance, started keeping track of Big Macs and Double Cheeseburgers in 1990 vis ISDN. Most, however, have been relatively primitive phone-in efforts.

In 2006, for instance, Stepup, which is now part of Intuit’s Homestead, showed the way for online inventory management by letting stores fill out inventory on a spreadsheet. A sophisticated, contemporary effort has been mounted by Krillion, which provides inventory for computers, electronics, cameras, appliances and other goods, while selling advertising around it.

More recently, we’ve also seen Milo.com develop an inventory solution for both national and local players. WishPond is pursuing a similar strategy. The timing for both companies appears to be ripe. Milo.com was purchased two weeks ago by eBay for $75 million.

Milo has integrated with various media partners, such as The Sacramento Bee. Today, WishPond announced a partnership to do the same with PaperG, which builds display ads on the fly for a large list of newspapers. In this case, PaperG will be able to spec out a display ad based on inventory availability (i.e. “denim hats at Davey’s Army Navy store”). Customers of its PlaceLocal service can utilize the service.

PaperG CEO Victor Wong tells us that WishPond’s solution lets PaperG and its media partners get down to the product level for both national chains and for local stores. Roughly a quarter of its advertisers are local SMBs, he notes. Using WishPond, “toys are ads,” he says.

“The next natural evolution to local display advertising is to show what stores and products are available within driving distance of the consumer,” Wong added, in a statement. “Ad units that allow consumers to find information on local product availability can dramatically improve the offline conversion rates of shoppers.”

PaperG Launches Instant Ad Production for SMBs

PaperG, the “Flyerboard” provider of cheap self-serve ads on virtual bulletin boards, is moving up the value chain with the launch of “PlaceLocal.” The new insta-ad program builds ads around photos it finds on the Web or select from its collection of stock photos. The ads are combined with reviews, customer comments and other content. SMBs only need to enter their name and address to produce their ad.

PlaceLocal enables SMBs to revise ads based on new entries seen on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It also enables media companies to build ads on spec when they go on sales calls. It also enables still photos to have video-like “pan” capabilities, aka as the “Ken Burns effect.” Ads can also rotate testimonials that it finds on review sites.

PaperG CEO Victor Wong notes that PlaceLocal’s ad fees vary widely, based on publisher. But he notes that PaperG is aiming for about $1,000 a month, or more than double the $400 or so that Flyerboard typically yields. The new effort places PaperG more directly in competition with Seattle-based AdReady, which provides advertisers with hundreds of tested stock templates, and then places media for them. Wong also said that he expects some partners to use both products to appeal to different levels of SMB advertisers.

Hearst TV stations are among the first to try out the tech, deploying it on 29 websites. PlaceLocal has also been deployed on 32 additional local media Web sites (i.e. TimeOut New York). McClatchy newspapers are also set to launch it in some markets.

Wong also notes that the company, a Yale University entrepreneurial program, is moving from New Haven to San Francisco. It has 10-20 employees, and has raised over $1 million.

ILM: 09: Fox’s Warren Kay on Pros and Cons of Self-Serve

Self-serve is helpful but not really mainstream at this point, according to Warren Kay, Fox Audience Networks VP of Local Sales. Kay spoke on a panel at ILM:09 that also included iPromote CEO Michael Barr, AdReady Chairman Aaron Finn and PaperG CEO Victor Wong.

Noting that FAN has 35,000 advertisers ranging from national advertisers to small businesses, Kay said that self-serve is an excellent way to attract endemic advertisers for a particular site. “We see self serve can attract advertisers,” said Kay. He added that Fox has 15,000 + SMBs using Fox’s MyAds self-serve product, which launched a year ago, while Kay was still running local sales at Yahoo.

Yet, Kay added that he certainly doesn’t believe “build it and they will come” notion that self serve populates itself. “It is a little misguided,” he said, suggesting that for most categories, there is really no substitute for good old fashioned sales –especially sales that can leverage Fox’s extensive customer data, which can be used for more effective targeting. Nevertheless, he believes that self- serve has a “longer tail” and remains “a dynamic solution.”

Annenberg Summit for Community Sites Focuses on HyperLocal Commerce

More than 73 hyperlocalites participated last Friday Dec. 4 at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism to discuss not only hyperlocal journalism but sustainable hyperlocal commerce as well.

The meeting, “Entrepreneurship and the Community Web, was convened by Annenberg’s Executive in Residence David Westphal (and captured on video here). From what I could tell, it was the largest California summit for hyperlocal, and brought together what U.S. Local Media News Network President Chris Jennewein called “all the optimism in journalism.”

Besides U.S. Local Media News Net, hyperlocal and regional sites represented at the summit included such pioneering sites as Newwest.net, Oakland Local, Sacramento Press, BargainBabe LA, Coastsider, Edhat, SantaCruzwire, EmpireReport, Blogdowntown and Spot.us.

I had the privilege of setting the stage early in the program. In my comments, I noted that the local online industry has taken some interest in the success of hyperlocal sites, and it isn’t entirely altruistic – hyperlocal sites can provide larger media and directory sites and networks with content, search engine positioning and additional outlets for targeted advertising.

But hyperlocal sites aren’t waiting to be aggregated by others. Many are developing self- sustaining models on their own, with some experimenting with various ad formats, including banners, text ads, directories, classifieds, local/lifestyle ads and cross-overs into print and video products as well.

Industry consultant Elizabeth Osder complained that such a bifurcation into different ad products is all too academic. “It’s all one database,” with advertisers assembling their own custom promotional packages, she noted. That’s probably right.

I additionally noted that sites using self-serve tools such as adReady and PaperG are helping hyperlocal sites make revenues without having to develop and manage a sales force. Several hyperlocal sites that work with PaperG, for instance, made “five figures” last year from using PaperG’s self serve classified and display tools, according to site founder Victor Wong, in a conversation I had with him aside from the conference.

Looking forward, hyperlocal sites are especially well positioned to leverage relationships with local businesses to provide a wide range of services that go beyond advertising, including website development, reputation management, search engine optimization and “street team” support representing advertisers at fairs, concerts and other events.

One model advanced at the conference is to have hyperlocal sites band together and sell network advertising – a concept promoted by SacPress Co-founder Ben Ifeld. Like the five partner Next Door Media network in Seattle, SacPress is in the process of tying together 18 local sites in the Sacramento area that cumultatively bring in a half million monthly visitors. The Sacramento area boasts “a vibrant local media ecosystem, with some sites focusing on entertainment,” noted Ifeld. “Some have a sales force, some don’t. A couple of people are Web developers and building things for their neighborhoods.”

Especially eyed by Ifeld are regional advertisers currently paying up to $5,000 for a glossy ads in a regional magazine. Members of his Adify-powered network provide a better reach with better context than the magazine, he said. They can take those riches and divvy them up.

Ifeld also said the ad network is only the first stage of a collaboration among the sites. “Maybe we’d share content; maybe we’d collectively bargain with larger media companies to sell content; or set up a single sign on or run co-promotions. But first we have to get together in a room.”

Some sites at the meeting see better opportunities (i.e. more money) from taking a non-profit route. LA’s first rate Downtown Blog, for instance, said after much internal debate, it decided to set up as a nonprofit 501 C.

Just because it won’t set an ad rate doesn’t mean that it doesn’t want to work with local SMBs, however. But the site would rather work with such businesses on a contribution basis. In fact, it has made SMB support an integral part of the site, providing them with directory listings, home page Tweets and weekly email.

“We just want to serve the people who live and work downtown said site founder Eric Richardson, who had been at it since 2004. “Philosophically, I like being able to say we are non-profit community project. We can target foundations and people like that much more likely to support 501c than for profit business.

To Richardson, in fact, it isn’t especially appealing to partner up with content hungry sites such as The Huffington Post LA or perhaps, Examiner.com. While they’d drive up traffic counts, their audiences may be broader and less focused than is desired. “We don’t just want to throw content out there,” he said.

Another site, Edhat of Santa Barbara, hopes to make a go of it largely from voluntary paid subscriptions. Founder Peter Sklar noted that 450 of its 7500 e-newsletter subs have agreed to pay $1 per week – not enough to get anyone rich, but enough to continue to add resources. The site has greatly benefited from a shift in community support from the community’s troubled newspaper, he noted.

Other sites at the conference, however, frankly acknowledged that they are more oriented towards the journalism and really haven’t focused on self-sustaining models. Such labors of love will need to evolve to keep going for the long term. A major interest is to make sure that the writers can get paid for their work. Many rely on all-volunteer staffs today.

The ILM:09 Lineup: Dec. 9-11 in LA

The lineup for BIA/Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media ’09 is really taking shape. The speakers truly represent a “who’s who” of what’s going on in the space that is interesting, progressive and important.

ILM is the culmination of this year’s research and analysis, and takes place Dec. 9-11 at our favorite hotel, The Century Plaza in LA. Here’s the registration info. And here’s the current lineup.
Willow Bay, Senior Editor, Huffington Post
Cory Bergman, Director, New Product Development, MSNBC.com
Matthew Berk, Executive VP, Product Engineering, Marchex
Jason Boseck, President, Parking Data Ventures
Neil Budde, President and Chief Product Officer, Daily Me
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Executive in Residence, Accel Partners
Surojit Chatterjee, Product Manager, Google
Darrin Clement, CEO, Maponics
Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle
Geoff Donaker, COO, Yelp
Aaron Finn, President and CEO, AdReady
Matt Howard, CEO. SMBLive
Mark Josephson, CEO, Outside.in
Warren Kay, VP, Local, Fox Interactive Networks
Tim Kendall, Director, Monetization, Facebook
Cyrus Krohn, Director, Online Services Programming, Microsoft
Chris LaSala, Director, Local, Google
Warren Lee, Venture Partner, Canaan Partners
Lem Lloyd, VP, U.S. Partnerships, Yahoo
Scott Moore, U.S. Executive Producer, MSN, Microsoft
Mike Orren, President and Founder, Pegasus News
Geneva Overholser, Director, USC Annenberg School
Meredith Papp, Director, Product Marketing, Google
Jim Pastor, Senior VP, ESPN Local Digital
Kevin Ryan, CMO, WebVisible
Lori H. Schwartz, Senior VP, Interpublic Emerging Media Lab
Doug Scott, VP of Marketing, RMG Networks
Julia Scott, Chief Blogger and CEO, BargainBabe LA
Andy Simms, Director of Advertising Programs, Skype
Scott Tobias, President and COO, Village Voice Media
Kinsley Wilson, SVP and GM, NPR Digital
Victor Wong, CEO, PaperG
Michael Yang, Venture Partner, Comcast Ventures