4 numbers about digital marketing services that stood out in our latest Innovation Index report

In an effort to provide the industry with insights into emerging trends and new business models, the Local Media Innovation Index has been established. The Local Media Association has assembled a panel of 85 senior-level executives that are charged with growing digital revenue and/or audience at their local media company, who will take part in this effort.

The panel represents a diverse mix of large and medium-size local media companies including many of the top 25 in North America. You can read our first report here.

Second topic: Digital marketing services

While digital marketing services (DMS) – and standalone digital agencies – continue to be a promising opportunity for local media, there are a growing number of challenges like sales structure and fulfillment strategy.

Here are four statistics that jumped out to us in our latest Innovation Index report which included responses from about 50 of the Index’s 80 members participated. The survey took place between June 13-22.


Selling digital marketing services remains a top priority for local media companies, with 9 out of 10 identifying it as a top 3 priority for their company. Here are some specific numbers to look at:

• 60 percent of the respondents said this was a top three priority for the company

• 30 percent identified as the No. 1 priority

• 9 percent are investing in it but purposely moving slow

• 1 percent say it’s not a space they are interested in


There are a fair number of media companies that operate a full digital agency and nearly 80 percent do it under a separate brand. A few numbers:

• 70 percent of respondents operate a full digital agency

• 78 percent of those that run a full digital agency do so under a separate brand. The majority of both broadcasters (71 percent) and newspapers (70 percent) fall into this camp.


Broadcasters and newspapers vary in their approach with DMS in some areas. 58 percent of broadcasters are committed to an approach where reps sell both traditional and digital media. However, newspapers have a more blended tactic, with 65 percent utilizing both traditional and digital-only sales reps to bring DMS to market. A few numbers:

• 54 percent use traditional staff and digital sales experts to sell these services

• 41 percent use an integrated staff (reps sell all products)

• 5 percent use digital-only reps


77 percent of broadcasters claim that their digital agency is profitable. For newspapers, it’s a murkier story, with 25 percent declaring that they are not profitable and another 25 percent unsure. A few numbers:

• 63 percent say that their agency is profitable; 22 percent are unsure and 15 percent say they are not profitable

• 35 percent reported that it took 13-24 months for them to become profitable

• 30 percent reported that it took more than two years for that to happen

• 15 percent said they were profitable in the first six months; 20% in 7-12 months.

Submit ideas

To submit ideas for questions/ topics – simply email Nancy Lane at nancy.lane@nulllocalmedia.org. And if you are charged with growing digital revenue and/or audience at your company and haven’t signed up to be part of our panel, please do so at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4348398/Innovation-Index-Registration.