Why Hyperlocals Should Go Mobile

Posted on 18. Jun, 2009 by in Hyperlocal, News Ecosystem, Revenue

Because the stories that work best on mobile are the bread and butter of hyperlocal coverage, says Mark Potts.

“Mobile is really the sweetspot for local sites,” he says. “Google Traffic is never going to pick up the two-car accident downtown or stuff of interest to a small subset of people, like the little league game tonight has been rained out. Those are the classic hyperlocal stories, and that’s where mobile would be great.”

As he wrote in a two-part series on local mobile last week:

What really distinguishes mobile is immediacy and location…The phone in your hand is your direct pipeline to solving problems right here, right now, and mobile-enabled services have to recognize that. It’s the purest definition of the old “news you can use” chestnut.

Beyond editorial content, mobile advertising revenues are potentially too large for new metro organizations and hyperlocals to miss. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, mobile marketing budgets will increase 26% this year while overall marketing expenditures decline by 7% (via MediaPost).

While mobile is bucking the downward spending trend resulting from the recession, the emerging medium is still only a small fraction of total marketing budgets, at 1.8%. The MMA projects that mobile ad spending will grow from $1.7 billion this year to $2.16 billion in 2010.

So, even though the examples of successful mobile products–including Yelp–Potts cites are organizations with substantial r&d budgets to burn through, he says there are inexpensive ways for smaller companies to compete. He says they should look at off-the-shelf offerings, new products coming down the pike from the content management providers or by turning to a company like Newsgator for a custom iPhone app on the cheap.

Potts argues that the hyperlocal play in mobile advertising will grow as more phones start to geolocate (or even begin to augment reality). An app could blast out coupons or special sales from local vendors—like half-priced slices from the corner pizza guy—to readers walking by.

“Local sites end up as an ad agency at that point and everybody wins. The sites take a little slice off the top,” Potts says.

So, are there any independent hyperlocals out there with killer mobile apps? Let us know, we want to hear from you.

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