When I started working with local advertisers, I heard a comment lamenting that there was no more pre-roll video available within the market.

This surprised me…how did Spokane run out of pre-roll video inventory?

I was told that one of the largest local advertisers had actually purchased ALL of the pre-roll video inventory from every local news station.

This advertiser made a logical assumption about digital media based on the paradigm of the relationship between historic access to media through traditional media with digital media.

In other words, pre-roll video inventory for local advertisers was the pre-roll inventory available on the local news websites. There was no other pre-roll, since there was no other ‘local website’ (or perhaps, local sales?) with pre-roll other than the local news stations (and a few others, of course).

Obviously this is not correct, but it’s easy to see why that might be the assumption. For many local advertisers, their first conversation about buying digital media (banners, video, etc..) was often with the same salesperson who sold them television, radio, or print advertising.

And naturally, if you aren’t aware of how the digital media landscape works, you don’t naturally understand that there are self-serve tools and/or DSP’s available to almost anyone that can allow them to buy banners, video, search, etc… without having to go through their local media rep, agency or anyone.

Let’s be honest: Owners and managers of local or regional businesses have a lot of hats to wear and a lot of work to do. I’ve been amazed at the number of skills and multitasking that is required to operate a small business when there are not staffs of people to handle specific functions. So their time and energy is not spent thinking about the differences of digital media versus traditional media.

When I talk to one of these advertiser’s, I have to let them know that, for example, people in Spokane, Kennewick or Seattle are not merely going to their local news sites for video (or other content). In fact, that is almost ridiculous to say.

While local sites are an important place to reach local audiences, it’s not the only place. This is the ‘Digital User Perspective’ – which is distinct from the “Local Media Perspective”. And its ensuring that we understand that buying local audiences is not the same as buying local media.

Digital user perspective

It’s a critical piece of understanding to realize that local media are not the channel or the gatekeeper to users on the internet, but just one of millions of websites and apps where audiences can be reached.

And while that local television or newspaper website or app may be a good place to reach potential customers, its just one of among thousands of places that local prospects can be reached.