Dick O’Hare is the Founder and CEO of Local Yokel Media. Dick has extensive experience in online media, having held executive roles at companies including DoubleClick, Yahoo! and AOL. We recently spoke with Dick about his current role.
The Makegood: Dick, you got into digital media early, having started working at DoubleClick in 1999. What were your expectations, at the time, for the future of the then nascent medium?
DO: Prior to DoubleClick, I spent almost 9 years at CMP Media, a leading technology publishing company at the time. CMP Media produced magazines likeNetGuide and Interactive Age back in the early nineties. These publications were writing about the Internet before Yahoo or any of today’s large, Internet companies existed. It was an exciting time full of promise. As we all recall, that excitement turned into a bit of over exuberance by the late nineties and ultimately taught us all a lot about corrections that can happen after too much hype. Back then, everyone was drinking a lot of Kool Aid before the 2001 market correction, but it taught those of us who lived through it some valuable lessons like the importance of creating real value for customers, over delivering on expectations and staying humble no matter what is going on around you.
The Makegood: Having spent about 10 years at major media companies including AOL and Yahoo! what inspired you to go off on your own and found Local Yokel Media?
DO: I became fascinated with the market dynamics happening with local media. It is a classic example of creative destruction happening with some traditional local media outlets as they need to dramatically change their business models to address continued audience migration into digital media. In true Internet fashion, hyperlocal websites and local blogs popped up to fill editorial vacuums created by traditional local media transitioning. This hyperlocal content represents extremely valuable advertising impressions if assembled and organized properly. And, there are plenty other examples of this beyond independent websites and blogs, like community newspaper websites and hyperlocal initiatives from larger media companies. That was the genesis of Local Yokel Media. Our mission is to bring efficiency, scale and ad performance to this burgeoning hyperlocal digital advertising market.
The Makegood: Local Yokel Media focuses on hyperlocal, rather than local. What is the difference and what does hyperlocal work best for?
DO: Typically, “local” has meant local ad targeting at the major metro or designated market area (DMA) level. Which means, as a user, you could see an ad message from a marketer whose store location could be 50 miles from you. Research states that 80% of consumer spending occurs within 15 miles of consumers’ homes. Local Yokel Media focuses on these tight geographies and offers marketers the ability to reach deep into communities in their immediate service area on hyperlocal publisher content those communities know and trust—all from one platform. So, our definition of hyperlocal means community level content instead of metro level.
The Makegood: You recently said there is a “huge need for better quality ad impressions in the ad exchange environment, along with more transparency and better targeting capabilities.” How does Local Yokel Media fulfill this need for clients?
DO: In our business model, it all starts with contextual relevance of the ad message (based on geography). Contextual relevance always has been the leading indicator of ad performance. The challenge with exchanges are they are mainly driven by data-based, audience targeting. In that environment, there is no contextual relevance of the ad message with the content that is being consumed. We aim to bring more “geo-contextual relevance” to the equation with hyperlocal targeting and offer our advertising clients extremely premium ad impressions since they are directly related to their service geography.
The Makegood: Thanks, Dick.