The landscape of online local advertising has been changing dramatically since Groupon announced its powerhouse VC investment less than three months ago in April. Groupon and its gaggle of imitator couponing systems have forced traditional media to re-examine their CPM-based banner ad models, and they’re now adding the same kind of Daily Deals to their ad mix. Right down to the local print:
(iPhone pic from: @bergenctynews)
The quick adoption of couponing systems by traditional media is an immediate reaction to ad competition, and signals a strategy to retain their traditional advertising channel to the consumer:
In three months, a wall has been erected by traditional media; there’s no reason to develop partnerships with the Groupons and their ilk when they own the distribution channel to the local consumer:
The biggest barrier now facing the infant couponing systems is gaining access to local media channels in order to promote their Daily Deals. They are essentially brand new companies, and they all leverage email lists and the social media as alternative channels to reach into the community.
The second barrier is building local sales infrastructure to service community businesses. Funded Groupon and LivingSocial can invest in local sales infrastructure, but the hundred other couponing ventures don’t have the luxury of capital and usually just build out in their home city.
What’s next for couponing systems
In order to scale their business regionally or nationally, couponing companies will create new or parallel business models:
- White label couponing systems for license use by local media companies – TV, radio, newspaper – to offer Daily Deals. The white label licensing concept can extend to national advertisers like Home Depot to broadcast their local weekly deals and granularly to the local chambers and civic associations wanting to promote their merchants.
- National ad agency and media buying services that acquire and harvest clients at the local level for national distribution across networks of local couponing and other advertising systems. For example, half price ski lift tickets at Vail or Mother’s Day gift wine packages from Napa can be sold through couponing systems regionally, even nationally.
- Coupon aggregation systems like TheDealMap, Yipit and DealRadar make it easier for consumers to find local deals in one list or map. Affiliate marketing models will contribute to the expansion of these types of coupon distribution systems down to the neighborhood level.