Truly local advertising set to emerge

A number of announcements this week suggest that truly local, geo-targeted advertising is gaining momentum.

To take-off, three things are required:

  1. Broad availability of geo-reference information in browsers and mobile devices.
  2. Advertising platforms that exploit this information to deliver advertising.
  3. Local advertisers who can benefit from such precise advertising.

This past week saw announcements on all three fronts.

Increased Availability of Geo-reference Information

Skyhook Wirelesss announced the availability of a ‘one-touch’ location capability for publishers.

The Loki plug-in works with all major Internet browsers and operating systems to determine the precise location of any Wi-Fi-enabled device instantly, given the user’s permission. Web developers can use visitor location information to personalize content, ease local searching, deliver localized ads and more.

Major websites such as Flickr, Mapquest and Weatherbug are incorporating the technology.  It makes it easy for web developers to deploy the sort of location based smarts that have been very popular on the iPhone:

“The WeatherBug iPhone application has been extremely successful in part due to its ability to be location-aware. Loki enables us to instantly offer this same, rich experience to our desktop and laptop users and was incredibly simple to integrate,” said Chris Sloop, co-founder and CTO of WeatherBug.

Geo-Targeted Advertising Platforms

Google and Placecast both announced geo-targeting ad vehicles this week.

Google announced a Maps Ad Unit:

Placecast joined with Alcatel-Lucent to create a platform for delivering advertising to ‘on-the-go’ consumers.  Consumers ‘sign-up’ for the service and the kind of messages they want to receive.  Then when you are near a place that might be interesting you will get an ad sent to you.  (Might be a bit spooky – but it is opt-in.)

Local Advertisers

And finally, TechCrunch reports that the Village Voice is planning a Local Ad Network.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  They already have a relationship with local advertisers – why not help these advertisers get exposed in other media?

Getting access to the local advertisers – often small and medium sized businesses – who can really benefit from such highly localized advertising will be the biggest challenge.  Or the biggest opportunity!


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