Local media depends on local advertisers for their bread and butter, and gauging by the growth shown in the latest report from Borrell Associates, WHAT LOCAL WEB SITES EARN: 2007 SURVEY, the local media is doing something right:
"We gauge this year's U.S. local online advertising at $7.5 billion,
growing at a clip of 31.6 percent over 2006. Newspapers continue to
hold the dominant share. They control 35.9 percent of all locally spent
online advertising, but pure-play internet companies (Google, Yahoo!,
Monster et al.) are hot on their heels, with 33.2 percent. Yellow pages
operators control 11.7 percent; Other Print (e.g., Homes & Land and
other local magazines) 9.2 percent; TV stations 7.7 percent and radio
stations 2.2 percent."
Here's the problem:
When you talk $7 billion, every company wants a piece of the action.
When you talk about $400 or even $1400, which is how small local businesses buy advertising, no company wants the action unless it's free of human (translate=expensive) interaction.
What do most small businesses want? The kind of service they are prepared to provide their customers for a $400, or $1400, sale. In some cases, the kind of service they provide for a $20 sale.
The missing piece in the local online advertising market continues to be the dissonance between the companies that want that ad dollar, and the companies that shell out that ad dollar.