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Users of the web are young, affluent and busy. They want to find what they want, when they want it. They're heavy consumers of local information because of its relevance to their lives. And they are immersed enough in videogame culture to hope their electronic search may be at once fruitful and entertaining.

When advertisers find a community of interest online that suits their consumer profile, two things can happen: National advertisers buying a regional brand with national dollars can get global results, and local advertisers buying a local brand with local dollars can get national results. The goal is to retrieve ready-to-buy customers -- not eyeballs.

That's why advertisers buy local online.


Marketers looking to target their dollars closer to home, or at least to well-defined geographical communities, report success, according to a study by the Newspaper Association of America. For example, Anderson & Lembke Account Manager Jeremy Braud bought local Web sites for a Sidewalk campaign managed by the San Francisco-based agency.

He said he received click-throughs as high as 9%, quadruple the industry average. Even when the click-through rates are lower, he said, "We're getting the right 5% . . . We're wasting less money from our clients when we target."

But knowing where you want to target is only half the battle.

Finding the right "who" is the other half. New York's Cellular Vision, a company offering high-speed wireless Internet access, put this principle into practice with a banner campaign targeted by ZIP code on The New York Times on the Web.


Pitches such as, "Hey, Chelsea!" and "The speed limit is now 500 Kbps in Brooklyn," did not draw that many more click-throughs as other area sites, but those who did respond contributed more subscription revenue for Cellular Vision than all other media combined.

Independent research demonstrates that local online information users are a highly involved and qualified audience. Find/SVP reported they generally shop online at double the rate of the overall Web audience.

More recently, researchers from Norwalk, Conn.-based Inteco validated these results when it found that those who use online newspapers also are more than twice as likely as are Web users generally to buy things online.


Whatever your preferred marketing medium, combining mass-media reach with Web response can increase the impact of both vehicles. The Chicago Tribune Internet edition's "Great American Homecoming" campaign for American Airlines combined print, radio and online, and saw one-quarter of the 40,000 contest entries come in via the Web. Detailed Web responses cost the client as little as $1 per name.

Finding the most creative affinity venues isn't always easy. One place to troll is the NAA's site ( To take things to the next level, we've just unveiled an online newspaper database that will allow advertisers to browse these sites geographically and by subject matter, and deliver results that link to advertised rates and specials.

Ms. Gipson is director of new media business development for the Newspaper Association of America. She can be reached at [email protected]

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