Yahoo, Google, Verizon SuperPages and others are all investing heavily in strategies to attract local retailers and other advertisers online. The value of the local ad market is estimated to be as high as $100 billion, most of it still untapped. But a new study says that — despite the efforts by the Internet companies to woo local merchants — local advertising may take a while to mature.

“There are certainly some exciting things being developed, but in terms of advertising dollars that the medium will attract, that’s three to five years out,” Niki Scevak, an analyst at JupiterResearch, said in this ClickZ article.

Though many local merchants are excited about the prospects of online advertising, often they don’t have Web sites to send potential customers to, or they’re content with their current print and Yellow Pages ad campaigns.

In the meantime, Scevak said, national retailers will spend the lion’s share of the local ad dollars with geographically targeted campaigns.

“In the next 18 to 24 months, we see national advertisers targeting locally rather than local pizza shops advertising online. Companies like Google and Yahoo! are launching new options to attract them, but the shorter-term growth will be driven by national advertisers targeting locally,” he said.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.