PaperG looks to automate local ads
CEO Victor Wong entered in a restaurant name and location and in under a minute PlaceLocal pulled in five-star Yelp reviews and photos from the restaurant’s website to automatically create a Flash advertisement. The ad consisted of a rotating slideshow and positive excerpts from Yelp reviews appearing underneath (see right).
“Our goal is to produce a first draft for the user to tinker with," says PaperG CEO Victor Wong.
The service can also pull in content from a publisher's website. So if, say, Time Out New York sells an advertisement to a sushi restaurant, PlaceLocal will scan Time Out for any reviews of that restaurant and give it priority over third party or competing websites.
While PaperG recognizes the allure of the self-serve advertising platform for local publishers, the company is still trying to work out the kinks through the sales teams of its 32 current PlaceLocal publisher partners.
The company is letting the sales staffs of its partners get first crack at going out in their communities and selling the ads.
“The percentage of businesses that wake up and say ‘I want to buy an online ad!’ is much lower that businesses that advertise after being solicited," says Wong.
As media has fractured and become increasingly focused on niche and hyperlocal products, business that were once too small to be approached by metropolitan dailies are now being targeted by locally focused sites. Suddenly the Joe’s Pizza Shops of the world are getting approached to advertise online.
Therefore, Placelocal avoids CPMs and instead suggests publishers charge local advertisers a flat rate.
“Advertisers as a whole don't understand impressions, we tried to reduce the complexity of that," says Wong.
By the end of the quarter PaperG hopes to have announced several partners who have implemented PlaceLocal has a self-serve option on their webpages for the long tail of publishers who don’t yet have sales staff and need an easy way to provide creative for local businesses.