I spent a bunch of time with ReachLocal co-founder Rob Wright on the Ad:Tech exhibit hall floor (in a blood-sugar deprived state) getting a demo of the new ReachLocal Xchange product. Rob took me through the sales/advertiser facing screens as well as the publisher side of the exchange. A few things are now much more clear than when I was just looking at an press release and exchanging emails with Reach.
Reach has built an impressive platform (from my lay perspective). It can accommodate virtually any type of ad unit on any publisher site (online or mobile), where publishers do their own ad serving. Reach doesn’t (yet) have ad serving capabilities for smaller publishers.
Reach is carefully managing who gets to plug into this. All publishers are approved on a case-by-case basis. By the same token, Reach is doing some outbound sales to selected publishers. On the advertiser side, Reach is not currently going to allow other sales channels to plug into this exchange. For example: a YP publisher could receive ads but not use the system for additional traffic for its advertisers. No other sales entity or channel (except the company’s reseller partners) can use the platform. That could change down the line but for the time being that’s the policy.
Here are Reach’s answers to the reader questions that arose in the wake of my previous post:
Q: Banner exchanges worked (right media) because there were standard ad units, ad tags and measurement. How will this work in local where you have search, display, and mobile? No one has figured this out for national why would local be first? The Xchange provides a standard way for local businesses to provide campaign information, including creative, to media publishers so that they may traffic these campaigns in their systems as they do today. Where necessary (for instance, where a media publisher is not set up to provision hundreds of IOs at smaller dollar values, as is typical for the SMB market), ReachLocal will be providing a standardized IOs to the publisher and, possibly, providing ad serving directly. The ReachLocal Xchange will support multiple ad types and pricing formats that can be integrated into 3rd party publishing systems.
Q: What is the point of the app exchange? If SMBs do not want to self serve, who will be using these apps?
The ReachLocal Xchange for Solutions is inclusive of products and services. As an example, web and banner design would be considered a service, while online chat and online scheduling would be considered a product. Products and services can be purchased by our sales force (Internet Marketing Consultants) in the ReachLocal Xchange on behalf of the SMBs, because it is our experience that small businesses will not self-service.
Q: Why is fox the anchor tenant. Social networking inventory is proven to be the lowest value ad inventory on the web?
Social networking is just a portion of the Fox Audience network (Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox local O&O sites and other premium local inventory) that is available through their network. In addition, we will be leveraging remarketing and other behavioral targeting capabilities afforded by the network. The Fox Audience Network is a great complement to the existing network of display publishers we are currently working with.
Q: Will the exchange be open to all buyers; e.g., can WebVisible advertisers buy ads through WebVisible on the exchange?
ReachLocal currently provides online marketing solutions to hundreds of partner resellers, including advertising agencies and vertically-focused online marketing companies. They will have access to the ReachLocal Xchange for their advertiser clients. WebVisible is not currently a ReachLocal partner reseller.
Q: How are all of the SEM campaigns set up if the advertiser comes from outside the reach network?
We’re not quite sure we understand this question, but if this is referring to the hundreds of partner resellers with whom we work today to provide SEM services, those partner resellers have access to the ReachLocal platform to provision and view reports on their SEM campaigns.
Q: What is the exchange fee?
There are no fees associated with joining the ReachLocal Xchange.