Gannet’s Acquisition of Blinq Media Highlights Importance Of Local Online Marketing

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The acquisition of the online advertsing solutions company Blinq by the Gannett media group highlights the importance to these large players of engaging with local social marketing. And with the seemingly unstoppable growth of Facebook, Twitter etc, local firms will find it difficult to achieve growth without an online element to their marketing strategies.

As has been widely reported in the marketing press, the US-based media company Gannett has confirmed its acquisition of the advertising software and service company Blinq Media. Blinq is a leading global innovator of Social Engagement Advertising (SM) solutions which has worked with some of the world’s largest advertisers, including Facebook.

This acquisition serves to illustrate the importance big media firms are now placing on local Internet marketing and social media. Indeed, in order for these once-thriving media firms to survive in this difficult economic climate they must embrace digital marketing services. For Gannett, the purchase of Blinq presents an opportunity to extend its local influence, already initiated through investment in online marketing platforms such as ShopLocal.

Today, large media firms recognise that to be a global firm you must think local – as Gannett President and CEO Gracia Martore said at the time of the acquisition announcement: “With demand for social media marketing solutions continuing to grow at a rapid pace, this acquisition … positions us to be a leader in both local and global social media marketing.”

Blinq CEO Dave Williams, meanwhile, contends that social media is “the avenue to the local market.” But why might a strong foothold in local online marketing be so important for media companies in particular? For one thing, internet marketing and social media are becoming increasingly vital to small local companies – those which traditionally make up the core of a newspaper’s valuable advertising base, both online and in print.

In these days of smart phones, m-commerce and the Internet, small companies can’t just rely on traditional forms of advertising or word of mouth to bring in new customers. People are constantly on the move, and consequently they will often look for local services via the quickest and most accessible medium – their mobile phone or laptop.

Indeed, it can now comfortably asserted that small firms simply can’t afford to ignore local marketing – whether it is local business directories or social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like are not going anywhere, and there are new online marketing tools being developed constantly. To have a chance of growth, small companies must be aware of and respond to this, at least to some degree.

For firms such as Gannett, then, investment in firms such as ShopLocal is a way of building up relationships with its advertisers on a new platform by utilising the latest online marketing technologies. Blinq can take its local retail data and use it within its BAM 2.0 social ad platform to “roll out local programs at scale” – targeting customers according to keywords and location.

But as it also has a European base, Blinq can potentially expand this local model on an international basis. This is the kind of strategy we have already seen many of the big media players to adopt, and we will no doubt continue to do so.

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