3 Key Trends to Watch for in Local Advertising

Dashboard statWhen we look at advertising trends to help understand the grander landscape and develop strategies for clients, we often look at global or national industry developments. After all, what works great on a large scale can often be applied to more regional or local scales as well. That said, for specific trends in local advertising, it’s often good to look at published primary research sources. And for that, we often turn to the annual Borrell Annual Local Advertiser Survey.

By surveying more than 4,000 local advertisers, this research firm develops some key insights into what’s happening in specific markets. Their latest report is out and here are three key trends that we believe highlight what’s working—and what isn’t—for local advertisers.


Spending Continues to Shift to Digital

One of the core questions every local advertiser faces is what portion of their budget to put into digital vs. traditional media. When asked what their spending plans are for the year, nine out 10 of the top responses for increasing spending are in digital media formats, with the 10th response being cable television. These include digital video and audio ads, search engine marketing, social media advertising, mobile advertising, and others.

Conversely, the four formats where respondents said they’re cutting or eliminating budget are in traditional print media: Yellow Pages directories, newspapers, magazines, and “other print publications.”

Interestingly, about an equal number of respondents said they’re increasing and reducing their spend in outdoor advertising, direct mail, and broadcast TV.


Digital and Personal Referrals Driving New Customer Acquisition

It’s probably no surprise that local advertisers are largely increasing spending in digital categories; these seem to be large drivers of new customer acquisition. The most effective digital media here include Facebook, paid search, paid social media, and their company website. Only referrals from existing customers and referrals from friends and family were included as being a top supplier of new customers, and even some of those could be considered digital (depending on how individual respondents considered a referral; i.e. seeing someone on Facebook say something positive about a brand might be considered a referral by some people).


TV and Digital Video Seen as Equally Effective

When asked to rate broadcast, cable TV, and digital video in terms of their effectiveness, respondents overwhelmingly found all three to be “very to extremely” effective.


Of course, this aligns with where local advertisers are putting their money—more into digital video and about the same in broadcast and cable TV. In other words, advertisers seem to be maintaining budget in areas they have found to work well, while also growing spending in formats they want to continue to explore.

If you’re a local advertiser trying to navigate the complicated media landscape, we can help. Contact us to discuss analyzing your current media spend and finding ways to make it more effective.


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