The role of local journalism has never been greater than it was over the past two years while Canadians struggled to stay on top of current reporting during a time of major uncertainty. While we have seen a collective cry of support for local publishers, one of our IAB Canada members has essentially turned their entire focus to finding ways to ensure that local media finds its way onto buy-side plans. This week we sat down with Lisa Camacho, Publisher and Sales Support for Canada and the US at M32 Connect to find out what they have been doing to help local publishers in today’s climate and why they feel their work is so important.
IAB Canda (IABC): M32 is clearly an organization committed to supporting local publishers. Can you tell us how these efforts began and where the passion came from?
Lisa Camacho (LC): M32 started when our founders, who had been in the media industry for many years, saw a need to help local media navigate their ever-changing digital world so that they could continue to grow. Our team of experts started to provide support through monitoring and optimizing while providing expert advice and suggestions on how to structure their digital platforms. This allowed us to support our local media partners and to build strong relationships enabling them to focus on their quality content knowing that their digital monetization was in good hands.
IABC: What would you tell buyers and planners today about the importance of supporting local media and why it should be top of mind when planning budgets?
LC: We have all seen the ease of defaulting to buying ad space on social media platforms and other large well-known platforms, which is a large reason why SMBs and agencies continue to allocate their budgets to the large conglomerates in the digital space. But what about the local media in your cities that provide you with information about local politics and local issues? Local publications are what keep communities informed with feet on the ground addressing local issues. If we, as a community, don’t take into consideration a win/win approach where you can run successful campaigns for advertising clients and support Canadian media, these local outlets will continue to be phased out and overshowed by the large platforms. At M32 Connect we offer a holistic approach with turnkey solutions for publishers and advertisers making buying local as easy and as streamlined as possible.
IABC: What specifically are you doing to help local publishers in today’s competitive marketplace?
LC: Through our close relationships with our publisher partners, we know that they need a solution to address the problem of advertisers defaulting to the ease of large platform buys. In response we created M32ads – a white label self-serve platform outlining all our publisher’s digital offerings that harmoniously co-exists with their sales teams and direct campaigns. For advertisers, this platform lets them quickly and easily build, upload, pay for and monitor campaigns across local media properties.
IABC: Many brands have publicly expressed their support for local media. What are you doing to help these brands and media buyers in general, gain greater access to this inventory?
LC: In addition to the creation of the M32Ad Center, we, along with our media partners, have created a programmatic buy of the largest local media network in Canada. This Local News Collective (LNC) provides extensive reach and a one-stop solution for local campaign buys across several publishers and sites in Canada. Now that we have created the AdCenter for small budget campaigns, and LNC for big budgets we have something for everyone allowing us to connect all types of buyers with our publishers.
Through these two products M32 Connect can offer several ways to reach local media inventory including direct, programmatic guaranteed, preferred deal, private marketplace and open auction. We also support display, native, video and audio.
IABC: Any parting thoughts for the industry as we head into 2023?
LC: Moving forward into 2023, I think it should be top of mind how important it is for advertisers to support local media and how detrimental it would be to the economic well-being of our country if local news doesn’t survive.