Featured Startup Pitch: LocalYokel—making hyperlocal online advertising work

By Editor July 4, 2011

LocalYokel logo

Company: LocalYokel
Website: www.localyokelmedia.com 
Headquarters: New Canaan, Connecticut
Founder: Dick O’Hare, CEO
Year Founded: 2011
Company Description (in 140 characters or less): “Local Yokel Media is the Internet’s first hyperlocal online ad marketplace.”

By Dick O’Hare, co-founder and CEO

Our Company Background:

With the tremendous growth of the Internet, consumers continue to migrate online for local information. More local businesses are moving their advertising spend online, to follow this audience. As a result, online local advertising is now a $16.1 billion market and growing rapidly. Meanwhile, “hyperlocal” content is booming—filling the editorial void left by the waning coverage from traditional local media organizations. This valuable, community-level content presents a compelling, targeted advertising opportunity. Research shows that 80 percent of consumer spending happens within 20 miles of home. Local Yokel Media (LYM) focuses on those 20 miles (and more) to help local marketers reach only those communities within their immediate service area on publisher content those community audiences know and trust. This level of granular ad targeting delivers “geo-contextual” relevance which drives overall ad performance and media efficiency.

Our Product Overview:

Based on proprietary ad serving and cartographic technology, LYM aggregates and organizes hyperlocal websites by zip code empowering local businesses to target local audiences within their immediate service area—all from one platform. LYM’s underlying technologies are Java and MySQL.

Key Product Features Include:

·        Easy, three step publisher enrollment process including ad tag implementation and full reporting

·        Proprietary, customized ad serving solution

·        Simple advertiser self-serve platform empowers local businesses to build “geo-contextual” ad campaigns targeting their immediate service area

·        Free ad templates

·        Full advertiser reporting

Founder’s Story:

I have been in the digital media industry for the past 15 years holding senior management positions at DoubleClick, AOL Media Networks and Yahoo, Inc. I was part of the early DoubleClick management team that built the industry’s first online advertising network. Over the past two years, I have been immersed in the local online advertising market developing a passion and a solution for the emerging hyperlocal advertising market segment.

Prior to this, I created and ran Yahoo’s first Global Strategic Partnership and Emerging Marketing Channels team. My team and I gilded strategic partnerships with Yahoo’s top 25 global accounts such as Sony Electronics, Intel and General Motors. In addition, my team and I developed and executed monetization strategies for video, mobile and social media.

Prior to Yahoo, I served as Senior Vice President, General Manager of AOL Media Networks responsible for two thirds of all domestic, non-search ad revenue. Before joining AOL, I was General Manager of the Business and Technology Networks at DoubleClick. My team and I drove publisher inventory acquisition and monetization in the business and technology verticals within DoubleClick’s Media Network.

I have over twenty years of experience in the media industry with prior positions at CMP Media including Publisher of Home PC magazine, leading it to the #1 position in the home computing category. During my tenure, CMP Media held an initial public offering and was subsequently sold to United News and Media.

Marketing and Operational Strategy Overview:

Currently in its seed stage, we launched Local Yokel Media on April 1st, 2011. LYM has been focused on building a deep offering of granular, hyperlocal websites in the NY designated market area (DMA) the largest local advertising market in the US. Over 60 hyperlocal websites have registered with LYM in its first 45 days of operation. LYM plans to scale to a footprint of the top 25 DMAs in the first 30 months of operation. Ultimately, LYM intends to serve over 200 DMAs in the continental US. Each of these DMA geographies will be broken down by DMA, state, county, and community composition for the purposes of publisher inventory acquisition. LYM is employing an aggressive social media strategy to penetrate the local blog and hyperlocal website market as well as more traditionally targeted digital media to reach and engage local online publishers.

LYM’s Unique Value Proposition:

Local Yokel Media is positioned to become the premium third party monetization channel for hyperlocal and local online publishers. As LYM scales, it will become the industry specialist in monetizing hyperlocal and local display and video ad inventory.

LYM offers hyperlocal and local publishers three key benefits not available in today’s market:

·        Full transparency and control of LYM provided advertisers

·        Premium revenue from direct advertisers looking to reach hyperlocal audiences on trusted local publisher content

·        A broader, more relevant advertising base

LYM offers local online advertisers the following benefits not available at any scale on the Internet today:

·        Easy access to aggregated and geographically organized hyperlocal ad inventory

·        Access to ad creative leveraging today’s ad performance best practices

·        Ad campaign performance reporting

Business Model:

LYM monetizes its aggregated hyperlocal and local ad impressions through three channels:

·        LYM’s proprietary self-serve advertising platform, including ad creative

·        Direct sales outreach to regional and national marketers looking to target hyperlocally

·        Reseller sales organizations currently selling digital media products to local businesses

Current Needs:

LYM is currently focused on the NY DMA. The company plans to secure series A investment in the first half of 2012 to further scale its offering into the top 25 DMAs and beyond.

LocalYokel – www.localyokel.com