News for Digital Journalists

February 18, 2011

Research report: Hyperlocal audience is hypersmall audience

The audience for local news and information websites is much smaller, less local and less loyal than advertisers are being led to believe, finds new research by Borrell Associates, a consulting firm that tracks local advertising.

In its report, “How Unique is Unique?: Gauging the (Actual) Size of Local Web Traffic,” Borrell surveyed 16 local websites and found overall that 30% of a local website’s visitors don’t live in the market, a fourth of page views are delivered to “fly-by” users who won’t come back for a year, if ever, and the average unique visitor count overstates the number of local users by a factor of five, meaning a site that sells local advertisers on a half-million monthly uniques is in the end probably only delivering 100,000 local users.

The shortfall is of growing concern, the report added, as websites move from selling ads on the basis of page views toward selling ads based on actual audience size, or as they try explore prospects for user fees.

In a writeup of the research by the local digital media news site netnewscheck.com, Harry Jessell noted how the Washingtonpost.com dealt with the problem of overcounting local visitors by instituting a site registration that required users provide a ZIP code. Once sales reps could deliver a purely local audience, they immediately began selling more ads to local businesses.

An executive summary of the Borrell report is available at no charge; the full report is priced at $995. A free, one-hour Webinar is also scheduled on March 1.

The firm is also sponsoring a two-day local online advertising conference in New York on March 3-4, which features speakers from The New York Times, The Journal Register Co., McClatchy, Patch, Examiner.com, Outside.In, Deseret Media, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Groupon, along with “Innovator’s Dilemma” author Clay Christensen. Register here.

(HT Nieman Journalism Lab)

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Comments

I still dont understand..

Huft..

http://houstonlawyer.blogspot.com


Maybe I can transfer you from your state of confusion to a position of clarity, Kevin.  What is it you don’t understand? —Gordon Borrell


Thanks, i useful it…


market, a fourth of page views are delivered to “fly-by” users who won’t come back for a year, if ever, and the average unique visitor count overstates the number of local users by a factor of five, meaning a site that sells local advertisers wedding glasgow


Thanks for sharing with us your results. I think that you did a good and useful work. Maybe you try read papers buy about similar events.


This report costs $1,000 and even to get a summary, you have to go through all sorts of hoops. Then, the part of the report disclosed says they used “complex mathematical formulas” to determine these results. And it’s done by an advertising entity. Can you spell bull****. I liken this to the tobacco companies in the 1960s hiring scientists who produced studies saying cigarettes weren’t bad for you. This appears to be a transparent effort by Borrell Whatevers to attract customers by saying the current stats and methods are wrong, and they need some other kind of marketing help that conveniently Borrell sells. I find it fake as can be, but then again, I don’t have the stinking $1,000—oh, I’m sorry, $995—these charlatans are charging for access.


Thanks for your frank comments, Dan.  I understand that we have shared the report with you at no charge, so as to help prevent you from writing reviews without having first read the book.  I too am a recovering newspaper reporter and metro editor, which is why we at Borrell Associates wind up taking so much criticism over laying out the facts.  I look for news in the research we conduct, and this certainly is news, though nobody ever pointed it out so clearly.  We are often expected to be a shill for one industry or another—in this case local websites—and when we publish research like this it tends to shock (and offend) people in that industry. —Gordon Borrell, head charlatan


Page 1 of 1 pages

Commenting is not available in this section entry.