All-in-one online marketing platform Signpost, which is aimed at small local businesses and tries to provide those businesses with online marketing tools that have previously only been available to larger brands, today announced a new partnership with Digital First Media. That company in turn manages MediaNews Group, Inc. and Journal Register Company, two of the largest local newspaper publishers in the U.S., which means Signpost’s customers will be able to reach a potential additional readership of 57 million new customers.
Signpost works by providing local businesses with a one-stop online advertising tool, where they can launch and manage campaigns that the New York-based startup then delivers to its over 1,500 publishing partners, which also include companies like Google, AOL and the Yellow Pages. Signpost’s new partnership means that member ads and offers will now appear next to relevant, hyper local editorial content on local newspaper websites across the U.S. Signpost CEO Stuart Wall explained to BetaKit what this means for its merchants.
“The deals complement editorial content in the sense that readers often see deals that are related to the content they’re reading,” he explained. “For example, I’m reading a blog post about the best salons in NYC and am served a relevant salon deal.”
For Signpost, placing its ads with Digital First Media’s network of online local newspaper sites is a huge addition to its value proposition. After all, despite the fact that news is increasingly moving online, adults still primarily get their local news from newspaper sources, according to a recent Pew study. Placing ads for small businesses with a limited geographic range alongside that content is a natural fit.
Wall also thinks there’s another opportunity for small businesses thanks to the new partnership, even if they don’t necessarily serve deals directly to readers in their immediate area. “Local merchants will benefit from this partnership because it is getting their brand name out there to a vast audience reading these various newspaper titles,” he said. “It’s a form of brand advertising, in addition to being a direct revenue driver.”
While Wall wouldn’t reveal exactly what kind of revenue arrangement exists between Digital First Media and Signpost, it does appear to be another way for newspapers to connect with advertisers, and be served locally relevant content without having to do too much legwork with their own ad sales team. That’s an important advantage for newspapers with shrinking budgets which still drive most of their revenue through advertising partners.
For both local newspapers and small brick-and-mortar businesses, one of the biggest challenges is leveraging the internet to drive business and increase audience and revenue. Signpost, which is backed by Google Ventures, Spark Capital, Jason Calacanis and others, is wise to have seized this opportunity to cater to the needs of both parties with its growing marketing platform.