PaperG Challenges AdReady, Expands Reach

Screenwerk by Greg Sterling

In short, PaperG is a company that’s trying to:

  1. Make display advertising more accessible to SMBs (and in so doing challenges AdReady)
  2. Make self-service for SMBs a reality
  3. Help newspapers attract more online ad dollars
  4. Build a local ad network

The company was started in 2007 and already has an impressive roster of customers. I actually met with one of the founders roughly 6 months ago or so and forgot about that until this morning.

Here’s the concept in a nutshell:

Flyerboard takes offline behavior online by adapting the concept of the cork bulletin board for use with a market’s local or hyperlocal websites. It gives local businesses an intuitive, inexpensive and shareable vehicle to attract customers, and provides for many their first foray into online advertising.

Today the company announced an expanded relationship with Hearst Corp.:

Ad tech start-up PaperG Inc. today announced that it has signed an agreement with Hearst Newspapers to deploy PaperG’s dynamic new ad unit Flyerboard across Hearst Newspapers’ network of 15 web properties, including SFGate.com, the online home of the San Francisco Chronicle, and TimesUnion.com, the Albany Times Union’s website. The agreement comes after Hearst piloted Flyerboard at Chron.com, the website of the Houston Chronicle.

The “flyerboard” ads appear in banners, skyscrapers or can have dedicated pages. Here’s an example on Boston.com:

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Detail: The ads all expand and are interactive.

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There’s a self-service ad wizard that offers two simple ways to create ads. One is to use existing images and ad content (i.e., an offline “flyer”); the other enables SMBs to create ads directly in the tool:

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Users choose markets and publications. Publishers set prices but the same ad can run on multiple sites (hence the ad network reference). I can’t asses how simple the ad creation process is compared with AdReady because I haven’t gone through both experiences and compared side-by-side. PaperG faces the same “push” vs. “pull” challenges everyone asking SMBs to create ads faces. That’s why the company is expanding into automated ad creation with a new, related site PlaceLocal.

Display ads for SMBs are all the rage now, with the NY Times and Yahoo launching self-service tools based on the AdReady platform. ReachLocal is selling display and others are looking at display advertising as another traffic source beyond “local search.”

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Note, however, that “Internet banner ads” (display) are cited in a recent Harris Poll (n=2,521 adults 18+) as the ad units/types that people most ignore:

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By contrast, a recent OPA study found that online display was highly effective but that its effects were “latent.”

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