Ads on Local Sites More Likely to Spark Consumer Action

Consumers who view ads on local media sites are more likely to act on those impressions as opposed to those who view ads on virtual yellow pages, portals or city guides, according to a new study by the Online Publishers Association.

The study, “Local Online Media: From Advertising to Action,” found that 46 percent of consumers took action after viewing ads on local newspaper sites, followed by 44 percent for local television sites and 42 percent for local magazine sites.

By comparison, 37 percent of consumers took action after viewing ads on portals such as Yahoo or Google. That number dropped to 35 percent for classifieds sites and 34 percent for online yellow pages.

The new study produced similar results to one published last month suggesting ads get a performance boost when they appear on branded content sites, as opposed to portals or other non-branded sites.

Local media sites also fared well in another important measure: trust. In response to the question, “How trustworthy do you find the advertising on these sites?” respondents ranked local newspaper sites first (56 percent), followed by local TV station sites (55 percent). However, portals (53 percent) and online yellow pages (49 percent) outranked local magazine sites (40 percent).

“Whether it was making a purchase or going to the Web site or visiting the advertiser’s store, we found that visitors were more likely to take action after viewing these ads on local media sites,” said Pat Horan, president of OPA. “For the advertiser, this provides some concrete understanding regarding how best to spend their dollars in terms of trying to connect with local consumers.”

“We also found that the local media sites were attracting consumers who were actually spending more money online overall,” she added.

For respondents who spent more than $500 online in the past 12 months, 48 percent identified themselves as users of local magazine sites, while 40 percent said they frequently visited local newspaper sites and 39 percent spent time on local TV sites.

When it comes to what these consumers are looking for on local sites, the most popular answer was searching for places to dine (38 percent). Searching for grocery stores was second (28 percent), followed by looking for banks or other financial services (25 percent).

The study was conducted for OPA by Jupiter Research, which surveyed over 2,000 randomly selected online content consumers this spring.

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