National adver­tis­ers who limit their media place­ments to national out­lets may be miss­ing the boat. Recent data based on a review of 200 bil­lion vis­its from Q1 2012 – Q1 2013 by Adobe Dig­i­tal Index reveal some star­tling sta­tis­tics about the growth, national reach, and engage­ment of a local news­pa­per or TV sta­tion com­pared with news­pa­pers and TV sta­tions with a national audience.

Local media is attract­ing national audiences

Nearly 35% of all traf­fic to a local media site is accessed by vis­i­tors out­side of the state.  Read­ers access local con­tent directly (mean­ing they type in the URL or click on an e-mail link) 40% of the time, whereas national media sites only receive 35% of their read­ers through direct access. We attribute this dif­fer­ence to the large amount of affil­i­ate traf­fic national sites receive from news aggre­ga­tors, blog­gers, and other affil­i­ate sources, but local media may be cre­at­ing a home court advan­tage with its con­tent con­nect­ing con­sumers inside and out­side of the state to the local community.

local vs. national media referrer type

Local chan­nels are also more reliant upon social, which is pro­duc­ing 6% of traf­fic com­pared with 4% for national sites.

Local media is more engaging

Read­ers are vis­it­ing local sites just over 1 time per week and are spend­ing 11 min­utes per ses­sion. National media con­sumers visit less than once a week and spend 9.4 min­utes per ses­sion. This means that on aver­age, con­sumers visit local sites 50% more each week, spend 1.7 more min­utes per visit, and view more pages per visit as com­pared with National.

local engagement

A tar­geted audi­ence is key

Today’s com­pet­i­tive media land­scape makes it more impor­tant than ever for mar­keters to focus efforts on highly engaged audi­ences.  While reach may be smaller with a local out­let, vis­its are increas­ing faster than national, it is more engag­ing, and has a greater con­nec­tion with social channels.

Ulti­mately, media buy­ers will need to con­nect with audi­ences on a local and national level. National media pro­vides the reach and access to a broad range of con­sumers and the oppor­tu­nity to increase brand aware­ness. Local media, which may be more cost effec­tive, pro­vides a more engaged audi­ence and enables adver­tis­ers to per­son­al­ize cre­ative assets.

With local media’s reliance on social traf­fic, it pro­vides a per­fect oppor­tu­nity for mar­keters to cap­ture an engaged audi­ence locally for its prod­ucts, and pro­vide access for social viral reach. This adver­tis­ing can serve as a way to give prod­ucts a more local focus to the national masses, which could help har­ness a tar­geted audi­ence to pro­duce higher click-through rates to sell product.

Do you find your­self more engaged with local sto­ries on social net­works? Are you check­ing your home­town news from a loca­tion out-of-state?

Fol­low me, Joe Mar­tin, on Twit­ter @joedmarti for fur­ther insights into the media and enter­tain­ment industry.