For iPromote CEO Michael Barr, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Now he’s trying to convince third-party publishers, and the local clients they represent, that it’s a no-brainer to serve keyword and location-based display ads alongside the text-based search ads they are already running. This is expressly what iPromote does with its LocalSearch offering.
Barr believes the answer is automated ease-of-use — that simplicity creates scalability. Only then will large-scale sellers add display to their toolkit and SMBs embrace it. The LocalSearch solution is built around the core idea of taking the work out of display while still producing fast, targeted ads to fulfill inventory needs and satisfy ROI demands.
A local merchant’s Web site or business listing URL is inserted, iPromote uses a combination of the client’s information and its own database content to create a display ad, and the publisher or business then pinpoints where and when the ad will run and the campaign budget.
The geotargeting built into the interface means that when a user queries a particular term and location, a locally and contextually relevant display ad will serve. Location-aware features enable “locally relevant display ads,” which, according to Barr, convert at a 2-5 times higher rate that generic display.
The ads can be branded with either the publisher’s or the advertiser’s name. A dashboard allows for real-time campaign management and ready-made changes to ad content (drag and drop new photos, revise the business description, etc.). Ads are also optimized for mobile platforms.
IPromote is already in motion with several partners, and Barr has set a high-priority goal of attracting major IYPs and local search directories to the service … those that serve thousands of SMBs. These publishers would reserve display real estate on their search results pages and subsequently be able to bundle display offerings with existing search campaigns to drive down the cost of lead generation.
Once publishers place the ads on their own sites, they can then select other locations to distribute the ads. They can also blast them out across the iPromote Ad Network, which includes Yahoo, Bing, CitySearch, Local.com and many more publishers.
Barr and his team are banking on resurgent growth in the display market, and recent data show he’s on to something. This week, IAB reported that display-related advertising revenues for the first half of 2010 rose almost 16 percent year over year.