LMC & Google News Initiative Release Magid Research Findings on Advertiser Assessment of Local Media

Survey finds advertisers value local media’s connection to community, but think digital advertising expertise needs strengthening


July 16, 2020, New York – The Local Media Consortium and the Google News Initiative today announced the results of a survey examining advertiser perceptions of local media and what local media can do to strengthen their digital ad strategies. The study, conducted by leading business strategy and research company Magid and titled 2020 Advertiser Assessment of Local Media Digital Advertising, analyzed the views of national and local advertisers and ad agencies across the U.S., focusing on how local media can better address advertiser needs, how relevant their digital offerings are and what might drive or prevent advertisers from placing ad buys with them.

With more people relying on journalism in their communities, as advertising dollars decline at a dramatic rate, these findings come at a vital time for the local media industry. With the insights gathered from the advertisers and agencies interviewed, Magid has developed recommendations to help local media companies better meet advertiser needs and fuel digital growth. Three key takeaways are:

Prioritize digital sales education

Advertisers see value in local media because of their market proximity and unique relationship with communities, but many find their limited digital expertise to be a barrier. Local media companies should prioritize equipping their teams with digital sales training, so they can more effectively provide advertisers with campaign recommendations and insights, as well as serve as credible consultative partners. Publishers can jumpstart their efforts by tapping industry partners, internal experts and external training tools, like those offered by the LMC and the Google News Initiative.

Improve campaign monitoring and reporting

A consistent theme in Magid’s research was that local media ad campaigns lacked efficient processes, and in-depth reporting and analysis. Marketers expressed desire for greater guidance on the metrics that matter most to their business and why. To address this opportunity, local media companies should focus on developing more streamlined processes and campaign reports that are timely, intelligible and solutions oriented. Data points that advertisers highlighted as particularly important in their buying decisions were cost per thousand (CPM), viewability, article and video completion rates and unique audiences.

Identify unique value proposition

Local news connects people to their community and creates citizen engagement unlike any other medium. Advertisers consistently mentioned this benefit when discussing the advantages of working with local publishers. Partnering with a media organization that is trusted in their community allows brands to embed themselves within that community in a meaningful way. For advertisers, this trustworthy relationship can be as important as return-on-investment. Local media should highlight this advantage in their sales approach and provide comprehensive case studies that showcase the success of their specific offerings.

“Local media’s role in breaking important news and providing trustworthy information is paramount, now more than ever,” said Fran Wills, CEO of the LMC. “But as more people rely on their local media outlets, advertising dollars continue to decline, which puts local media in a challenging position. This new research offers an important look into what local media companies can do to improve their digital ad strategies, attract a wider range of advertisers and ultimately increase advertising revenue.”

In addition to its partnership with the Google News Initiative on the advertiser assessment study, the LMC and Google, together with the Local Media Association, recently launched the “Support Local News” campaign to encourage more advertising, subscriptions and donations to fund local news rooms.

“As part of the Google News Initiative’s mission to help journalism thrive in a new digital media landscape, we’ve been focused on understanding how local news organizations can better attract quality advertising and enhance their digital offerings,” said David Brooks, Head of News & Local Media at Google. “The insights from this analysis provide guidance to local media outlets on how to successfully connect with local advertisers, as well as national brands, and in turn, grow their digital businesses.”

Magid also recommended that local media companies explore a more streamlined, scalable way to make their inventory more accessible and attractive to national brands and agencies.

The full 2020 Advertiser Assessment of Local Media Digital Advertising report is available here. Local publishers interested in learning more are invited to join our webinar on Friday, July 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET by signing up here.

About the Local Media Consortium

The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of nearly 90 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 4,000 outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 1 billion unique monthly visitors and its member companies serve more than 6 billion pageviews to consumers. More information is available at http://www.localmediaconsortium.com/.

About The Google News Initiative (GNI)

The Google News Initiative represents Google's effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organizations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated $300 million over three years to energize these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. Learn more at g.co/newsinitiative.

About Magid

Magid is a consumer-centered business strategy company delivering courageous thinking that shapes better experiences, products and services. Since 1957, thousands of local and global brands in over 40 countries have engaged the firm for bold ideas that have helped achieve innovation and success. The Magid team is passionately curious and driven by the pursuit of improving human experiences with every engagement.

Media contacts:

Christina Gillham

cgillham@thatcherandco.com

Kristin Brocoff, 949-400-4899

kbrocoff@thatcherandco.com

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