Local Site Targeting

If geotargeting is an objective of your media campaigns, you’re bound to have considered the obvious alternative to IP-targeting: local site targeting. Targeting potential customers through local sites decreases the danger of mistaken IP targeting due to server location, in addition to delivering local Internet users hungry for information, products, and offers specific to their region.

Some industries are natural providers of city-specific content, including real estate, entertainment, even dining (e.g., restaurant reviews). There are also some obvious choices where local media sites are concerned. There’s no shortage of regional newspapers, television, and radio properties. Portals such as Yahoo Local and Citysearch provide whatever these might not.

Over the past few years, some niche publishers have also taken steps to customize their content by urban market. Others have emerged prepared to provide city-specific information from the get-go, whether professionally scripted or user generated. The result is countless sites and sections catering to major metropolitan areas through which advertisers can connect with desirable demographics in a contextually relevant environment.

Urban Moms

Acquired by CNET last year, UrbanBaby offers local guides for major U.S. cities, including Austin, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle. Each city has its own site section, complete with tips, product reviews, community information, and access to message boards germane to birthing and raising babies in the big city. The audience is decidedly urban, discriminating, and attractive…to advertisers who understand the power of the purse.

The site is in the process of updating its design; other objectives listed at the time of the CNET acquisition included the addition of domestic and international cities and the expansion of the property’s e-mail newsletter.

Citizens With Style

City living is often synonymous with tight quarters, and what urban consumers in such situations need is some Apartment Therapy. The consumer-generated media property publishes blogs for New York, L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago, in addition to those addressing specific rooms like the kitchen and the nursery (another avenue to reach those savvy urban parents). Each reports on design and décor trends, as well as answers user questions that are accompanied by photos (e.g., “Where can I find a mattress for this daybed?”).

The tone of the blogs is casual, but the content is hip and the products cited are often upscale, in line with the affluent, educated audience Apartment Therapy attracts. Unlike some blogs, which relegate banners to right- or left-side columns, advertising is interspersed throughout the body copy for a more integrated feel (text links are also available).

Metropolitan Travelers

Urban travel guide Gridskipper has everything you’d expect from a Gawker Media property: sophisticated content with plenty of attitude. The site publishes guides for such international cities as L.A., Berlin, and Paris and attracts advertisers like the Travel Channel, which has found a perfect match in it for edgy travel series, “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”

In addition to sightseeing and hotel tips, Gridskipper covers art and dining, and has been named among the best travel sites by the likes of “Forbes Magazine” and “The Times.” The site’s user base skews young (73 percent of visitors are aged 18 to 34) and male (66 percent), and monthly traffic is in the 190,000 range — very respectable for a niche travel property that oozes cool.

With urban editions that feature unique content and integrate message boards and blogs to foster a sense of community, these sites offer planners and buyers a way to geotarget by major city without sacrificing quality content and the trendsetting audience it attracts. Local sites aren’t just about the news and the weather anymore. They’re as vibrant as the cities they represent.

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