SpotRunner Dives Deeper into Local

Yesterday, local video ad and distribution provider Spot Runner announced a deal with Lexis Nexus Martindale Hubbel. This gives the company closer access to local advertisers in the legal vertical by opening up a single point of entry to a broad base of private attorneys.

The deal will make Spot Runner’s ad creation engine and cable spot buying dashboard available to Lexis Nexus affiliated law firms. This is very similar to Spot Runner’s deal with Coldwell Banker in the real estate vertical that gives the firm’s far flung agents immediate access to customize 30 second ads and choose where they want them distributed.

This involves voice overs and text that are overlayed on stock video footage (available for many different advertising categories). The cable spot buying dashboard then lets advertisers choose geographic and demographic targeting for where the ads will run. The price for ad creation is $500, while ad placements can be as low as $12 (surprisingly) for 30 second spots on comedy central and CNN in some markets.

These deals for spot runner are the best way for the business to scale. Otherwise it is addressing a very wide and fragmented segment of small businesses. This becomes even harder if you look at the fact that it employs a self service model without a sales force. One single deal with a large business with many decentralized constituents effectively gives it a single point of entry to many local businesses.

But the significance this announcement is that it’s Spot Runner’s first move into the legal vertical. Real estate and autos have already caught on quickly with video advertising and represent the biggest advertiser groups for Spot Runner. This is because of the high consideration items, pressure for leads, and high margins that have made early adoption a necessity, and advertising spends somewhat inelastic. These factors are also very much present in many professional services areas including lawyers.

Spot Runner’s move into the legal vertical is also significant because it is an area traditionally “owned” by yellow pages publishers. In fact, this should be a call to action for yellow pages publishers to begin to offer video advertising to local professional services advertisers.

This could be a complimentary addition to the advertising bundle they currently offer including print and online (internet yellow pages) placements. Spot Runner could be a nice creative partner in rolling this out, but it currently offers only cable distribution. Other video producers such as TurnHere and Spotzer offer online video distribution, and Spot Runner will likely follow suit soon.

The model for IYPs and local search destinations could be a video window that is embedded in individual business listings that is sold as an additional ad unit or upsell. Many IYPs that spoke at The Kelsey Group’s Drilling Down on Local conference — including and — expressed a pressing interest to do this. But they better do it quick, or someone else will. Oops, Citysearch already has.

More on the subject of local video advertising in an upcoming SEW experts column.

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