The acquisition extends the site building capacity for OwnLocal’s vision of automated digital marketing for small-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs).
“OwnLocal wants to be the digital sales model for local media,” CEO and founder Lloyd Armbrust told me via email.
The basic idea: “Making it dead simple for newspapers to offer their small business customers digital advertising solutions generated from offline print campaigns.”
When founding the company in 2010, Armbrust said he “saw first hand the troubles local publishers were having monetizing digital ad revenue, and knew there could be an easier way.”
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The idea of monetizing ad revenue, he added, “snowballed [to] creating full digital marketing campaigns for small business customers.”
Newspaper partners send Austin, Texas-based OwnLocal their print ads each month. Data is automatically extracted, turning the ad into a digital marketing campaign that can include a digital ad, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, creation/hosting of an ad landing page or website, and more.
Sidengo, founded in Monterrey, Mexico but now also based in Austin, offers a website builder that is integrated with Facebook. That company said it had reached over 25,000 users in the past four years.
The Sidengo technology, Armbrust told me, will enable OwnLocal to “offer an easier-to-use website builder that is more applicable to SMBs,” allowing print ads to more easily become simple websites that SMBs can edit themselves without technical knowledge. Sidengo will operate under its own brand for a while, but will eventually become part of the OwnLocal platform.
Deal terms were not made public.
OwnLocal says it works with nearly 1,600 local media companies and more than 20,000 small-to-medium-size businesses, and serves about a billion impressions monthly.
Armbrust pointed to ReachLocal as a key competitor.
“We are different because we already have a distribution strategy,” he said. The challenge with SMBs, he noted, is “it’s hard to reach them, [there’s] not an easy sales model, and customer acquisition is really high.”
He said that local media partners are the key to reaching the SMBs. “We can distribute this new technology to our existing customers and scale very quickly,” he said, “[while] other companies try to sign SMBs up individually and drain resources and revenue.”