Watch out Groupon; media are guarding their turf in local advertising with group-buying deals platforms of their own.
, the homepage for The Boston Globe, is one of the latest local publishers attracted to the commerce space. The site recently launched Boston Deals
, which provides daily group-buying discounts for bargain lovers.
, executive director of digital advertising for Boston.com, said he began analyzing the marketplace last summer by tracking every daily deal taking place in the Boston area. “We determined based on that analysis that the market opportunity in Boston was well over a $50 million opportunity just based on the players in the space,” he said in a phone interview.
The company's research also revealed strong interest and opportunity from the local audience. Half of the audience wasn't aware of group buying ― giving Boston.com the opportunity to educate and introduce them to the concept, he said. Furthermore, of those who had already tried group-buying deals, 60 percent said they would do it again, demonstrating that consumers are satisfied with deals services.
“We also identified that they they’re looking for places they trust to go to — and we have some of the best relationships with some of the top local companies in the marketplace that already advertise with us,” Wallace said.
That's an advantage for regional news sites in the deals economy. “For the most part, the best deals sites are the ones associated with local newspapers,” Paul Gain, CEO of the deal site Monster Offers
, said in a recent interview with Digiday
. “Newspapers have the feet in the street, access to good quality deals through the relationships they have with advertisers.”
Some newspapers have chosen to team up with the pure-play deal sites like Groupon
(e.g. McClatchy and Media General), while others are launching competing services on their own (e.g. The San Diego Union-Tribune
and The New York Times
). The logic being: Why buy a partner when the subscribers are already paid for? Increasingly, publishers, including Boston.com and Hearst
, are taking more of a hybrid approach by building a program on top of one of the many white-label platforms.
Boston.com uses the platform Group Commerce
. “I looked at the landscape of the different white-label platforms that are out there and I compared group commerce to a variety of other white-label platforms and built a criteria to evaluate all the different vendors before choosing Group Commerce,” Wallace said.
Providing results to advertisers
Wallace noted that the move into the group-buying space is part of a paradigm shift for newspapers and magazines, as advertisers look for more tangible results. Boston.com's goal with the deals service is to help businesses bring in and retain new customers.
Wallace has worked on assembling merchants in their existing advertiser base as well as new clients. “If you look at Boston alone, there are 40,000 businesses. ... There’s a tremendous amount of opportunities to help drive sales,” he said.
In addition to access to advertisers, established local media have the benefit of a built-in audience. Boston.com reaches more than a million local unique visitors each month.
"We’re telling [businesses] that we can put our trusted brand behind your trusted brand with no upfront cost,” he said.