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Approximately 10% of online display ads in several of America’s major advertising markets are locally targeted and could command advertising premiums because they represent more efficient allocation of ad dollars, according to a study by comScore, Inc.

The results of the study of locally targeted online display ads in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC,? indicate that? between 9%? and 11% of display ads among all publisher sites are aimed at local online consumers.

San Francisco (11%) and Washington DC (11%) have a relatively higher share of ads being locally targeted, while Atlanta (10%) and Chicago (9%) were slightly lower, the analysis revealed.

The study broke out results based on all publishers, the top 100 publishers and regional/local publishers. Not surprisingly, in the regional/local site category – which includes sites such as Yahoo Local, Citysearch and Yelp – the share of display ads that were locally targeted was substantially higher, at between 23%-33% among the four markets.

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For the study, advertisers were deemed to be locally-targeting ads in a particular market if their relative share of display ads was substantially higher than that market’s share of display ads nationally. For example, if the Chicago local market accounted for 3% of display ads nationally, but 10% of a particular advertiser’s ad impressions were delivered in that market, those ads are deemed to be? locally (or regionally) targeted.

“Locally targeted ads are an increasingly important component of the digital ad landscape because they represent a more efficient allocation of ad dollars,” said comScore vice president Brian Jurutka.

Earlier this year, comScore research for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) showed that a 58% surge in the annual growth of local search far outpaced the 21% growth of overall web search in 2008.

A study from BIA’s Kelsey Group earlier this year predicted that local advertising revenues would see an overall decline over the next five years, however, the local interactive segment was on target to show growth that would offset some of those declines.

About the study: Study results were released in conjunction with comScore’s announcement that it now has the new capability to identify local advertisers in a particular market. This, comScore said, enables publishers to identify potential ad sales opportunities with advertisers focused on a particular market likely to be willing to pay higher CPMs for locally targeted placements and can be used by advertisers to understand the competitive advertising landscape across local markets and determine the most valuable placements for their ads.

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