How to Create an Effective Media Mix for Local Advertising

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, media buying wasn’t as complicated as it is today. Advertisers could reach everyone in their local market—a few times—with mass media.

Today’s media landscape is decidedly more complicated. While its “fragmented” state brings more complexity to media buying, it also brings more opportunity to segment and target a consumer audience.     Local Media Mix

The right mix of local advertising reaches that audience where they live, work, and play. It delivers a message through more relevant, immediate, and in-the-moment media, moving consumers through the buying stages of awareness, consideration, and action.


Familiarity with the different media channels as well as the local market can help media buyers more narrowly target their audience and deliver the most relevant messaging based on location, demographic profile, and media habits.


Broadcast radio continues to be a leading source of information and entertainment across demographics. Based on a Monday-Sunday 24-hour weekly cume estimate, radio reaches 93% of all consumers in the U.S. every week

Some benefits of radio advertising:

  • Targeted and local (geographically, demographically)

  • High recall even among distracted listeners

  • Flexibility for copy/creative changes and event-triggered campaigns 

  • Mobility (listen in the car, at work, at home) 

  • Strong ties to community, events, and promotions 

  • Low-cost production


Television continues to offer the greatest reach of all local media channels, and its ads are characterized by sensory impact and emotional engagement.

As an awareness medium, television advertising performs well in multi-channel campaigns designed to inform and persuade through different media and conversion paths. One study found that television advertising led to brand website visits more often than radio and print ads drove them online, with 26% going online to find more information within 30 days after viewing a television ad.

Additional benefits of television advertising:

  • Targeted (geographically, demographically, psychographically)

  • Connects with consumers through their involvement in the programming 

  • “Intrusive” medium that makes an immediate impact through sight, sound, and action

  • High-impact branding capabilities 

  • Original, engaging programming for high audience involvement and viewer loyalty

Broadcast television offers extensive reach and full DMA coverage for advertisers, and local cable television reaches a generally higher income audience with more niche programming and specific geographic targeting.


Declining print readership has received much attention from the industry over the past few years. For newspapers, much of this missing audience has gone online to read the news—of those respondents to the Pew Research Center’s 2008 news media consumption survey who had read the news the day before, only 25% read the print version. These online news sites are a great way to extend reach at a low CPM, and display ads on these sites may be part of an advertising package with space in the print version, or the placement may be thrown in as a value-add.

Some benefits of local print advertising:

  • Geographically targeted

  • Tangible media (touch/feel it) and portable 

  • Good for coupons and sale events (inserts)

  • May be demographically, geographically, psychographically targeted

  • Engaged audience involved in content 

  • Tangible media (touch/feel it) and portable


The internet is a cost-effective and measurable way to deliver an advertising message with high reach and frequency. For local advertisers, online advertising is an affordable way to raise awareness, promote events, and influence decision-making through easy access to information about a product or service.

Online advertising is useful at every stage in the decision process, from awareness to purchase:

  • Increased reach and frequency

  • Highly targeted (demographically, geographically, psychographically, behaviorally, linguistically) 

  • Highly measurable and accountable with provable ROI 

  • Can drive traffic directly to a website 

  • Interactive creative

Local search advertising is an effective way to generate website traffic and leads. Keywords can help advertisers further align their messaging with each stage of the decision funnel.


OOH advertising is any advertising that reaches consumers outside their homes, such as billboards, bus stops, and those loud and splashy ads on the back of the bathroom stall door.

In most cases OOH offers broad reach along with the ability to target a very specific location, such as the all-night diner off the next freeway exit. CPM is usually low, the ad is available 24/7, and unique formats such as digital OOH can be high-impact.

And finally, presence in social media—both paid and unpaid—is an essential component of the media mix. A good resource for more information on the role of social media in today’s advertising and marketing efforts is Brian Solis’ The Hybrid Theory Manifesto: The Future of Marketing, Advertising, and Communications.

So what's your media mix?

To learn more about creating an effective media mix for local advertising, download the white paper, Realize the Power of Multiple Media: 7 Steps to an Effective and Measurable Multi-Channel Advertising Campaign.

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