local media insider

Best Digital Agency

Best Agency for SMB’s, Multi-location; Best Digital Agency for SMB's, Single market; Best High End Digital Agency, Social & Content marketing; Best High End Overall Agency; Best New Agency; Best Overall Digital Agency; Best Agency Online Media Kit

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Best Digital Agency

Best Agency for SMB’s, Multi-location

Agency: LocalEdge

Owner: Hearst Media

Population: 8,405,837

Gregg Walls

Key executive: Gregg Walls, VP Reseller Channel

Judges take: Hearst-owned LocalEdge, while “not rushing towards something as fast” as some of the single market agencies, is reaping the results in market share across the company.

“It has taken several years, but they are at the top of the list in conversion of revenues to digital, achieving an overwhelming majority of digital to traditional sales.”  

* LMI stories:

Recruiting a dream team of digital hunters

Managing digital hunters at LocalEdge

Best Digital Agency for SMB's, Single market

Company: Hearst Company

Market: Albany Times Union- Albany, NY

Circulation: 65,000

Kevin Warren

Key executive: Kevin Warren, Digital Advertising Director

Judges take: With 584 live orders for digital services fulfilled by LocalEdge, the Albany Times Union has the most accounts and ins  in a dead heat with the Victoria Advocate for highest market penetration of  active digital accounts. This company is on our editorial hit-list in 2015. They do many things not only right, but better than the rest.

Best High End Digital Agency, Social & Content marketing

Company: A.H. Belo

Initiative: SpeakEasy- Slingshot

Market: Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX

Population: 1,257,676

Mike Orren

Key executive: Mike Orren, President 

Judges take: Based on revenue volume and number of high end accounts, SpeakEasy is a top contender in any agency category after just two years. While not a full service agency, it’s brand is exciting;  specialties that include content, social and promotions form a unique model that works, and  sales are extraodinary.

The partnership of the Dallas Morning News and SlingShot, a local agency, has generated a zero to $3 million home run, with 70 accounts, 11 of which bill more than $15,000 a month.

* LMI story SpeakEasy tops $3 million after 2 years

Best High End Overall Agency

Company: Cox Enterprises

Market: Palm Beach Post - Palm Beach, FL

Circulation: 88,231

Population: 5,828,191 (metro)

Alexandra Guth

Key Executive: Alexandra Guth, Digital Services Sales Manager 

Judges take: This newspaper-operated agency was founded five years ago around a central idea that a full brainstorming creative team would start off the research for every campaign created. This year the concept evolved into a new name, The IdeaBar, with a great looking website. The agency does not limit sales to high end, but the vast majority of its 100 plus accounts are, including marquee accounts that  bill $15,000  a month plus.

* LMI story: How Palm Beach Post opened an in house ad agency

Best New Agency

Company: Entercom

Agency: Smartreach Digital

Key executives:

Tal Edelstein  Tal Edelstein            Brandy C Carter  Brandy Carter 

Digital Partner Products Manager  Division Sales Manager - Digital Sales

Judges take: Founded in March, 2014 to serve markets as diverse as Seattle and Austin, SmartReach Digital has created a new presence both online and in the markets it supports. "This is an impressive start. The agency site is offering $25,000 in digital services as a leads collection device, has a customer chatline, separate brand and team. Expect great things from this group in 2015.

Best Overall Digital Agency:  Victoria Advocate

Agency : Advocate Digital Media

Owner: Advocate Publishing Group

Market: Victoria Advocate - Victoria, TX

Population: 111,163 (metro)

Circulation: 25,000

Key executive: Jason Holmes, General Manager

Judges take: This small newspaper consistently outperforms in market share of digital service sales for it’s size. Taken individually, the strategies are sound across the board from its digital service media kit to its 250 small account digital services sales team, a penetration high for companies we looked at.  But that's not the end of the story. This group also performs full agency services such as buying other media, that other agencies won't touch. For a tiny market, it's performance has won it this award. 

Best Agency Online Media Kit 

Company: WRAL

Company: Capitol Broadcasting         

Market: WRAL-TV - Raleigh, NC

Population: 2,037,430

Missy Geyer

Key executive: Missy Geyer, Digital Account Strategist 

Judges take: While other media kits had a better design, “for sheer information and practicality, WRAL does a better job.” Not only are all products displayed, but robust blog rolls, schedule of events, testimonial list, and team member profiles. In fact the “slider” email capture form has resulted in 70 new leads in 2014, converted into ten new accounts, and the traffic on the site has increased from several hundred to 2,500 per month.

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