It’s a problem that’s familiar to many agency buyers: start geotargeting, and soon, a campaign’s scale whittles to nothing.
The same problem exists for publishers. If a local newspaper starts selling moms reading the auto section, the audience might be too small to be worthwhile to advertisers.
The Local Media Consortium (LMC), a partnership of 65 local media companies that represent 1,650 news outlets, wanted to help its members benefit from the higher CPMs that come from adding in publisher data while solving for the scale problem.
It’s bringing on Lotame as its data management platform (DMP), in a partnership unveiled Tuesday. The Lotame DMP will enable publishers of all sizes to collectively create segments and make them available programmatically via LMC.
“When you go down to the smaller markets, you might not have enough ‘M’ on the CPM to make it worthwhile,” said Rusty Coats, executive director for the LMC. The LMC, however, is meant to give local publishers visibility among major brands and political buyers – and provides enough collective scale to make those deals viable.
Larger publishers in the LMC can participate in the collective DMP designed to attract programmatic buyers. They can also bring on Lotame as an individual DMP, using terms negotiated by the LMC to get the best deal for all its members.
By putting the DMP contract in place now, the LMC hopes to onboard enough of its members (which range from large publishers like McClatchy, Digital First Media and EW Scripps to Dorado Magazine publisher Ballantine Communications and Florida weekly publisher The Observer Group) in time to tap into political campaign budgets.
“Because there was no way for buyers to buy local media at scale, many of our local digital partners were left out on the last election cycle,” Coats said. “We see great opportunity in the 2016 election for them.”
A buyer lobbying in the medical marijuana space can now buy aggregated undecided voters in Ohio who are most likely to be swayed. That segment could include people who have read, shared or commented on articles about medical marijuana.
Republican-focused agency Targeted Victory is one of Lotame’s bigger clients, according to Lotame CRO Kevin Kohn. The agency will be able to “map to the audiences in each of the districts where it’s hotly contested, and enrich the data they have” with LMC publisher data.
Coats expects more technologically prepared members in the group to sign on first, and for the segments to get stronger as more members sign on. A third party will help smaller publishers to organize their data and bring it on to the larger data set.
Having a DMP offers bonus benefits to many of the local media publishers, who also run print operations. “Publishers who want to grow subscription bases can target nonsubscribers and market directly to them,” Coats said. “There’s a benefit for the publisher’s own product.”
The LMC exchange that will use Lotame’s DMP data has been growing swiftly since it launched last year with six partners. At the time, about 250 million impressions a month flowed through the exchange. Now, it’s averaging 1 billion impressions a month.
That increase is mainly from more partners joining and putting more supply in the exchange. Some of the large buyers of the LMC’s inventory, like Honda and Disney, look for the brand-safe, clickbait-free inventory the LMC members provide, Coats said.
Adding a DMP to the LMC exchange is just one way the consortium is expanding. As more impressions flow through the LMC’s exchange, the organization is slowly scaling up.
In June, it hired Tobias Bennett from McClatchy to serve as the champion of the exchange, meeting with publishers and onboarding more of them. And soon, the LMC may hire a salesperson to pitch the inventory directly to buyers, which could help members extract even more value from participating in the LMC.