OwnLocal: The Digital Ad Platform Media Publishers Use to Help Grow the Visibility of Local SMBs
8.7.17 Marketing

OwnLocal: The Digital Ad Platform Media Publishers Use to Help Grow the Visibility of Local SMBs

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: Traditional media advertising — like newspaper, radio, and TV — is still a preferred method of marketing for many small businesses. However, with the importance of digital advertising, local retailers can often spread their advertising budgets too thin, crippling ROI. With that in mind, OwnLocal developed a proprietary technology platform to automatically transform ads from traditional media channels into online ad campaigns. Traditional ads are scanned and assessed for valuable information used to craft a digital version to disseminate through a network of local ad partners. The result maximizes local businesses’ advertising dollars and opens up an easy, new revenue stream for media publishers.

When a small business wants to market to local consumers, one of the most effective ways to get the message across is by buying advertising from an area media publisher. Many businesses buy ads from local newspapers, radio stations, or TV outlets because they deliver those messages on a hyperlocal level to engaged readers, listeners, and viewers.

But an even more diversified strategy is necessary in today’s marketing world, and online ads must play a significant role — even for local SMBs that don’t have much experience on the web. Understanding the important role local media plays in a small business’ marketing strategy, while realizing that most businesses need an easy way to get their ads online, Lloyd Armbrust created an innovative digital platform to solve those challenges.

Photo of OwnLocal Founder and CEO Lloyd Armbrust

OwnLocal Founder and CEO Lloyd Armbrust talked to us about how the platform helps SMBs advertise online.

As a newspaperman himself, Lloyd saw the advertising disconnect and founded OwnLocal to give media outlets a way to boost revenue immediately by making online advertising simple for even the smallest of local businesses in markets all over the world.

“We work with about 3,300 media partners — mostly newspapers —throughout the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK and we help 120,000 locally focused businesses,” said Lloyd, who also acts as the CEO of OwnLocal.

That OwnLocal platform gives a media outlet the ability to make one ad for a business and have it automatically reconfigured and disseminated throughout a network of internet advertising partners. The platform transforms advertisements like newspaper or radio ads — for which the ROI can’t easily be calculated — into sophisticated digital campaigns that can be analyzed in real time.

Bringing local media advertising into the digital future is no small feat, but OwnLocal, which is based in Austin, Texas, has proven that through advanced technology and automation, it can be lucrative for all parties involved.

Using Technology to Transform Traditional Media into Online Ads

Media publishers who partner with OwnLocal get access to the company’s ad automating technology, in turn giving their small business clients a far better value proposition for the ads they buy — and without having to create a new ad themselves.

OwnLocal’s platform actually combs through advertisements that have already been created — like a print ad or a radio spot — and extracts all of the relevant information. This process identifies and captures business, coupon, and product data, then repackages the information into online ads.

“Our technology extracts data from different advertisements, and we use that to create an online ad that we push throughout our network,” Lloyd said.

By digitally remastering an existing advertisement, OwnLocal gives media publishers the opportunity to offer their small business customers wide-ranging campaign packages without devoting any extra time to design or dispersal. That can mean a significant — and immediate — revenue boost for all parties built on existing processes.

Newspapers like the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, used OwnLocal to transition its customers into digital advertising and generated $100,000 in new revenue in its first 12 months. And that success starts with the relationships that sales representatives and account managers for local media outlets have with the business community.

Working With Sales Departments to Enhance Value Propositions

OwnLocal’s platform is built on the strength of relationships between business owners and local ad sales departments. Instead of trying to find a way to allow businesses to serve themselves, OwnLocal wants these relationships to grow because the company understands that, on a local level, advertising is personal.

“There is no one to call at Google about your digital ad. We have a very unique niche where we are working with existing sales relationships.” — OwnLocal Founder and CEO Lloyd Armbrust

“The only way to get to most businesses is through direct, personal sales relationships,” Lloyd said. “Because business owners want to know that if they have a problem, they can walk down to a building and talk to somebody and get an explanation.”

That is the value proposition that is offered by OwnLocal; it allows companies to provide robust digital advertising options and personal service. This approach differs from many enterprise-level online advertisers that are effective but are profoundly lacking in communication.

“There is no one to call at Google about your digital ad,” Lloyd said. “We have a very unique niche where we are working with existing sales relationships.”

Enabling Local Businesses to Maximize Ad Impact With Ease

When Lloyd began OwnLocal, he understood that most small business owners wanted to get into online advertising but needed help with best practices and management. Even with guidance, a customized digital marketing campaign could be costly. But automation eases both of those pain points.

“If you are a small business, you may not know the best way to advertise online, so our platform does all of that automatically,” Lloyd said. “Even if you are a bigger brand, we can augment what you’re doing by looking into more opportunities in the local area. Through automation, we can have a lot more impact than traditional ad dollars.”

And, since OwnLocal automates the process of both building and placing advertisements, a small business owner can enter the online advertising arena without having to think about strategy. And they can get that value through a local partner they know and trust

A National Network of Media Partners Provides Access for SMBs

Businesses that rely on local advertising to survive are learning about the dramatic impact that online ads can have on their bottom lines. But many local businesses don’t have the resources to launch a full-scale online ad campaign by themselves — which is where OwnLocal’s network can help.

Screenshot of OwnLocal global reach

OwnLocal has a worldwide network of local media publishers, which means it can help most small businesses.

“Our media partners cover roughly 70% of the businesses in the US,” Lloyd told us. “So the chances are pretty good that if a company wants to work with us, its local newspaper, TV station, or radio station use our technology.”

OwnLocal takes the daunting task of online advertising and automates it for the benefit of both media partners and local businesses. And by building technology that can easily boost revenue for newspapers, radio stations, and TV outlets, the company is making sure advertising dollars are being maximized by bringing transforming offline ads into online ads.