local media insider

Centro's affiliate partnership program

Why local media should pursue this opportunity

Alisa Cromer

LMI members should jump on this affiliate partnership, especially as an alternative to the Yahoo Consortium.

The partnership allows local reps to "extend the reach" of campaigns for large advertisers to a variety of other sites, and keep 20% to to 50% of the buy. While some media have a lot of inventory, it shrinks greatly when specific targets are applied - such as people who have visited automotive sites recently - or for retargeting - ie serving the ad again to people who were targeted originally, as they move through the internet.

Here's a rundown on the program from John Hyland, Midwest Director, at SNA's Fall 2011 Publishers and Ad Directors Conference:

Centro's core business is providing back-end services for ad agencies; these services include digital media buying, planning and production, with a specialty in buying local media across multiple sites. Their new exclusive-by-DMA program provides these same white label services to local media partners engaged in agency-style selling.

That is, for clients that need highly targeted campaigns, they will place a buy that has hyperlocal geo-, channel, behaviorial, contextual and/or retargeting. Just some examples of national sites that can be included with local geo- and other kinds of targeting: webmd.com, hg.com, sportsillustrated.com, cnn.com, Fox.com and Forbes.com. They also place pre-rolls on YouTube, audio on Pandora and display ads on Facebook.

The affliate program, originally called CentroLift, launched in March 2010 with Seattle Times, as a “digital reach extension program” that allows sales reps to create unique targeting opportunities.

As with the Yahoo Consortium, highly target buys enhance the solution-selling approach, and CPM's can be much higher.

There are currently just 31 CentroLIfe affiliate partners nationwide. All CPM’s are considered wholesale and publishers can mark them up as much as they want. Current mark-ups for most buys are 100%. For example, typically a $4 cpm will be marked up to $8, and a $15 cpm might be marked up to $20, depending on the degree of targeting and what the local market will bear.

Centro has negotiated wholesale price, and added 30% for itself, prior to quoting the CPM. Since it is essentially a back-end service for agencies, it does not handle accounts and compete with newspapers for the client relationship.

Case studies presenting include a casino whose digital spend was previously $8000 a quarter with the local media, and broadcast receiving the rest.

Other criteria for the casino included:
* a 21 plus audience
*Targeting to Mails 21 to 45 primarily, and all 18 + males secondarily

A competing casino opening nearby also meant the advertiser wanted to reach certain zip codes with specific messages.

Using Centro Lift the local partner channel targeted to sports, and behavior targeted gamblers, with pre-roll 15 second video ads, plus via ISP address.

The program ultimately capture $40k in online revenues over a nine week buy. The advertiser is seeing a much higher CTR, due to pre-rolls and thinking about moving more dollars from broadcast to digital via their print rep.

Centro says they work closely with the ad directors and a few digital reps and really train them on how to do this. Hyland says "We have a simple RFP process., ie local media can send a request saying, the client only has $1700; what do you recommend?"

They also train, provide marketing materials which are white labeled, so they look as though the media partner has developed these enhanced agency-style buying services.

Current partnerships include Augusta Chronicle and JRC. Typical clients are automotive and healthcare.

One publisher at the SNA conference worried that “If you gave (the franchise) to the local cable rep, massive bad for us.”

Centro is "focused on newspapers” but in talks with a few broadcast companies. The only non-daily newspaper partnership is with OnMilwaukee.com.

The number one competitor for the program is Yahoo's behaviorial targeting. “This offers so many more benefits, we have made head to head presentations and outsell them.”

A major complaint with Yahoo is that the advertiser never sees their ads.

“The best way to see is retargeting, Your clients are on their own web sites all the time, so they will see their ad on the national site they look at next," Highland says.

Reporting is simple: Here’s where the ad ran, impressions delivered, clicks and CTR IS provided in the middle and at the end of the month.

Auto dealerships have been a good source of revenues for the program. One example is “ a megadealership with 16 roof-tops”
that had a digitally savvy GM. The newspaper digital rep was able to move market share into digital by showing the ability to behavioral target auto –seekers in specific markets.

"After exhausting its spend with local broadcast, it was able to target by job title on Facebook, and to a list of sites targeting auto seekers, plus Youtube Prerolls and PPC."

As a result the digital spend from the dealership grew from $50,000 to $225,000. The same advertiser planning to include Pandora streaming audio in next phase of buys by re-allocating dollars from local radio in todigital – all under control of the print rep.

Contacts at Centro include Katie Risch, VP of Media Relationship katie.risch@centro.net, Sara Tady, Manager of Publisher Relationships, Sara.tady@Centro.net. The affiliate program has managers in various regions, so those are good places to start.

Our take: This is a recommend for media who are not in the Yahoo Consortium and on track with agency-style selling. It's a great way for local media to look and act like an agency when approaching larger regional accounts, or any accounts iwth large digital budgets. This is a good time to reach these big accounts while they are shifting large dollars to digital and do not have the expertise, in most cases, to engage in more sophisticated targeting such as behavioral and retargeting, or to buy effectively across, say, Facebook and YouTube pre-rolls.

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

centro, yahoo consortium, sna, conference, review, john hyland, katie risch, sara tady,