The Power of Locally Relevant Advertising for Buyers and Sellers: A Chat With Insticator’s Zack Dugow

“Send me your location; Let’s focus on communicating”

As the cookieless future nears, contextual advertising is rising from the ashes to take its rightful seat on the audience targeting throne. Without third-party cookies, contextual is one of the best games in town when it comes to publishers building and engaging audiences and advertisers boosting engagement and reach.

But, oftentimes, when we talk about contextual, the focus is primarily on content, but location has been one of contextual targeting’s most promising plays. And, in a privacy-centric environment like the one the advertising ecosystem exists in today, location is emerging as one of the smartest. 

Location signals enable publishers, and advertisers, to target audiences with the most relevant messaging according to where they are and what they are doing. It’s delivering the right message, at the right time that every advertiser wants. For publishers, leveraging locally relevant ads not only provides another revenue stream but also helps to increase engagement with your audience. 

That’s just why Insticator, the global leader in increasing engagement for publishers through interactive content, recently acquired Balihoo, the leader in multi-location marketing. Their fusion will create exciting new revenue opportunities for digital publishers and provide advertisers with the ability to maximize their return on ad spend.

I reached out to Zack Dugow, CEO and Founder of Insticator to learn more about how the acquisition of Balihoo will unlock new possibilities for digital publishers and advertisers.

Lynne d Johnson: As performance marketing converges with brand marketing, brands now need to maximize conversions across each touchpoint. How will your Balihoo acquisition help brands to be more effective in this regard? And what will ROAS look like for them?

Zack Dugow: The market has been moving in the direction of measured media vis-à-vis performance marketing for years. Gone are the days when advertisers spend seven and eight-figure budgets without being able to measure the return on their investment. 

Balihoo comes into play for any brands and franchisors who have a centralized message to convey across 50+ local markets. The value add of the Balihoo platform is the automated ability to deliver hyper-local multi-location marketing at scale. It’s pretty common for our advertiser clients to see anywhere from 6:1 to 9:1 ROAS from fully localized digital advertising scaled across hundreds of store locations at a time.

 LdJ: How will this help Insticator to drive better outcomes for publishers?

ZD: As a two-sided marketplace, Insticator can service publishers with unique demand that others often tout in our industry but fall short on delivery. For example, we can bring demand to a news publisher in Atlanta from our clients’ Atlanta-based franchisees. Locally relevant advertising contributes to a better site experience and higher audience engagement, which in turn benefits both our publisher and advertiser clients.

LdJ: You also acquired Balihoo’s team. Acquiring team members as well as a company is a model I’ve seen with big tech companies like Meta and Google. Why was this an important step for you and how will it help Insticator to become a better company overall?

ZD: The team at Balihoo are experts at what they do and have built strategic 10-plus year relationships with amazing multi-location brands such as Kohler and Pearle Vision to name a few. The acquisition of Balihoo brings us both an amazing advertiser-facing SaaS technology platform as well as immediate expertise and credibility with advertisers and their agencies.

LdJ: Attention is a metric that everyone in ad tech is paying a lot more attention to with the third-party tracking cookie going away. How do you envision your multi-location abilities provided by Balihoo’s tech coupled with your engagement units across mobile, desktop and video will help to shape the future of the open internet?

ZD: One of the most effective ways to catch your audience’s attention is to deliver a message that is locally relevant to their city, neighborhood, or surroundings.  We pair localization with the fact that we have user identity through our Insticator engagement products.  

Over the past 10-plus years the advertising industry has focused disproportionally on Who we are targeting and not enough on How we are engaging our audiences. Location matters and always has mattered in advertising, and when we deliver a locally relevant message with a highly engaging ad unit, the results are magic.