Real Time Local Advertising – a New Business Model

Local advertisers have been the bread and butter of local print publications, whether it’s the town newspaper, the free car and home for sale magazines outside supermarkets, or Penny Saver coupon books. The local consumer would pick up these circulars to find the best deals of the day. As print advertising slowly disappears, local advertisers face a void on how to market themselves online. If you need proof, try using google or any search engine for a sale on tennis racquets, a restaurant deal or a cheap floral arrangement at a local merchant near you. Nada… online real time advertising for local merchants doesn’t really exist.

PennySaver offers free ads/coupon offers for local merchants, but few consumers know about these kinds of sites. Craigslist is used more for classifieds, generally consumer-to-consumer transactions. Any ad system now takes too long, about 10-30 minutes, to submit an ad.


Twitter is the easiest and quickest way to create a real time ad. An advertiser can add a picture or video, and post a twitter ad in less than a minute. The ads can be displayed in a hyperlocal site modeled on Breaking Shopping, using a hashtag system to tag the ad category (#restaurants, #sportinggoods, #teen)

One new business model for print publications is to sell subscriptions, say $9 per month, to an ad system that gives an advertiser access to post ads via Twitter. Real time Twitter ads can simply be coupons – “Today’s lunch: our famous chicken cacciatore for $5.99, half off” – easily posted in the morning. The ads are compelling because consumers are always trying to find a good deal. With such ad service, online local newspapers will regain relevancy with coupon clipping readers, and advertisers will want to cater to them in real time.

The hurdle? Local merchants simply need to learn how to use Twitter. It’s easy to learn; it’s being proposed for inclusion in the curriculum of the British elementary school students.

Yes, advertisements are currently the bain of any social media system – witness the raw reaction to Apple and Skype for using Magpie, a bald-faced ad ploy. But ads that propose a “deal” are initiating a good will conversation that most Twitterers will tolerate. Those who don’t care to follow local merchants won’t.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email

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