Well, it seems like the industry has been wondering the same thing. Over the past few months we have seen the launch of CityGrid and there are a variety of mobile ad networks out there that are targeting local such as Where.
Now search-based online ad network Chitika has announced its LAX Local Ad Exchange. The platform will target local sites, search queries and mobile users. As far as I can tell this is an enhancement of Chitika’s current ad exchange. Chitika currently claims 80,000 publishers in its network. My guess is that they are now targeting specific traffic as local (they claim they serve 100,000,000 impressions/month on mobile alone) and working with big local advertisers such as Yellowbook to present relevant local inventory when they think the query matches local intent. Here’s their nifty graphic:
The CPM on local is just too good to ignore. I have worked on sites that have local traffic and with a few simple tweaks to the types of ads they are serving and how they are displayed, we have been able to increase eCPM from $2 to $20-$30 almost overnight. Yellow Pages publishers and others with significant amounts of local advertisers are constantly looking for alternative sources of leads for their customers (read “non-Google”).
On the surface Chitika’s access to a large source of local inventory (Topix is one of their big publishing partners) and its ability to optimize ads to local queries could prove quite attractive to a lot of players in the biz.
Note to entrepreneurs: As more of these ad networks come out of the woodwork, seems to me that there will be a big opportunity to create an interface that allows you to interact with all of them via one dashboard.