Popular, high-traffic websites like the New York Times and ESPN.com normally feature banner advertisements from national brands like Marriott, Sprint, or Jim Beam. These display ads, as they are more formally known, help brands build awareness by grabbing consumers’ attention and then funneling them to landing pages filled with information designed to encourage engagement with their product.

In today’s digital age, every big-name brand advertises online. Period. As reported in a Mashable article from January 19, at a projected $39.5 billion in online advertising sales, 2012 marks the first time in U.S. history that marketers are projected to spend more on online advertising than on advertising in print magazines or newspapers. But can local businesses follow suit?  The internet is after all a world wide web –  a restaurant in Palo Alto doesn’t get much out of advertising to New Yorkers. What’s more, a small, local business could never meet the minimum ad spend to buy advertising directly from a publisher like the New York Times.

Luckily, cutting-edge technologies have finally made online display advertising both possible and profitable for small, local businesses. For the first time ever, local businesses can advertise their products and services on high-traffic websites like the New York Times or ESPN.com, placing their brand and image alongside some of the nation’s largest companies.

How? By geo targeting ads so that they are shown only to viewers within a specific geographic area.  Geo targeting uses a viewer’s IP address to narrowly select an audience within just a single zip code. It is the key to scaling online advertising to local business needs. It increases the value of online display for local businesses because it concentrates every digital marketing effort on internet users near the business location.

This has been made possible through accessing the new Real-time bidding (RTB) systems on which ad space is now auctioned off to the highest bidder.  When a website is uploaded to the internet, it sends a signal to an auction space called an “advertising exchange”. At this auction, advertisers use algorithms to bid for open advertising space on the website in question. The highest bidder wins, and gets to serve its ad on the website. In the past, advertisers bought space directly from website publishers which was shown to all viewers alike.  With an auction system, buyers can be much more selective of the audience, giving them more control over who sees which ads.

To learn more, browse the Vantage Local website, or give us a call at 1-855-77-LOCAL (1-855-775-6225). Our experienced team of online advertising enthusiasts is always delighted to answer any and all of your questions.