Agency MarketingAgency Marketing

Making Hyper-Local Advertising Easy with Ben Bilbrough

Main Image

You may not have heard of, though it’s been around for some time. It’s the website that makes advertising easy. “Almost too easy,” so goes the slogan.

Ben Bilbrough is the CEO, and his company is a testament to the fact that great entrepreneurs identify and solve problems. In this case, the problem was that small businesses had trouble buying advertising in an efficient, effective way. was the answer. It allows both SMBs and agencies to shop for advertising rather than waiting for someone to sell advertising to them.

addy, local advertising with Ben Bilbrough - founder

Today’s podcast lets you learn all about this tool, as well as some of the unique insights Ben has unearthed while observing what’s working for his customers.

The highlights:

  • (2:17) The ways Addy makes ad buying easier.
  • (4:21) How agencies add value to the ad buying process.
  • (10:50) How agencies can talk to their clients about local advertising.
  • (14:34) Current ad buying patterns geographically.
  • (17:20) What’s working in local advertising.
  • (23:53) Ben’s causes.

The insights:

How Addy Makes Ad Buying Easier

“Addy turns ad buying into a shopping experience as opposed to a search experience,” explains Ben.

“Small business people, most of them, did not get into business to be marketers. They got into the business because they love the law, or working with artists because they own a gallery. [To them], marketing is a necessary evil. They’re coming into advertising with a lot of trepidation.”

He wanted to make ad buying, whether it was in magazines, on TV, online, or via direct mail into a really simple, intuitive process. Buyers can decide on their own which mediums are right for their business and see how it works.

Ben stresses that Addy is not a prescriptive service.

“We’re not in their shoes. We don’t know what their goals are. Is it to grow business? Is it to raise awareness? Is it to please donors? There are 1,000 reasons why they could be advertising. How do we make it easy?”

How agencies add value to the ad-buying process

Agencies use quite often. Some use the platform as consumers do. Others are using it to buy media for their clients.

One of the major ways agencies add value is through the production of creative assets. The platform is even thinking about eventually adding a marketplace for agencies to connect with their SMB customers.  That way, they can get their creative done, because that’s one area that SMBs simply do not tend to do a good job.

Ben says he’s seen the difference it makes.

“It’s hard for us to know which customers are happy with their results and the advertising they chose, and which aren’t. We can certainly see the repeat buying patterns. The people who had good creative that was clearly, professionally done are far more active. They’re coming back on the site and trying different things, or are extending their campaigns.

The behavior seems to indicate that good creative is giving them the behavior they want and is encouraging them to further invest.”

How agencies can talk to their clients about Addy

There’s always a danger that the SMB will find themselves while working with an agency, and thus might get angry at the mark-up they see. Fortunately, the Addy team already thought of that.

“First, creative is an art. We’ve made the act of buying advertising a process, but creating ads is an art. There will always be a role for that.”

Second, Ben says, cares about those agency relationships.

“All the rates on Addy, across all the media, are gross. Which means when an agency places an add through they’re paying the net price of 15% discount price at checkout that wouldn’t be available to someone who isn’t an agency.”

Thus, standard mark-up is baked into the process, and SMBs will find placing a full-size ad in Golf Digest (or in any other platform) costs them exactly the same as it would cost them to do it through an agency. Since they have to do their own creative if they go without an agency most are likely to conclude they’re better off maintaining that relationship.

Some agencies choose to very transparently disclose the discount to their clients, where other agencies prefer to stay more close-mouthed about it. Every agency owner or consultant will need to use their own judgment there.

Current ad buying patterns

Ben says most advertisers are being very nimble. They’re looking at trying multiple things over the next few months, and they’re leaning towards online and direct mail options.  They’re seeing a tight focus on geography and a tight focus on using multiple types of media.  Right now, people want to get a lot of impressions into a very tight area. “I’m sure a lot of that is just urgency. I don’t have tons of money, I just spent three months in shutdown, I’m not in a free-spending mindset. But for a lot of these small businesses, advertising is fuel in the tank. If you have none, if you’re not advertising, you’re simply not getting the business you need.”They’re also seeing a lot of new customers, businesses who hadn’t used Addy before or who hadn’t advertised at all.
“They’re finding the need to tell people they’re open for business or that they’ve changed their business model, and they need to get that word out in an efficient, affordable way.”

What’s your right now cause? itself has a cause it’s been supporting.

“Before the world turned on its head we were very conscious of the fact that a lot of people who do print advertising feel some guilt about that. Like if you’re doing magazine advertising or newspaper advertising or direct mail, those are resources being used.

We have a partnership with One Tree Planted. Every month, for every ad that requires a tree, we plant a tree. It’s been a great partnership.

It’s creating a kind of carbon offset. The advertisers appreciate it because even if they didn’t think of it, it feels good to be addressing the unintended consequences of something you’re doing without having to go through a lot of effort to do it.”

Why One Tree Planted?

“When all this is over and the world tries to get back to normal, we’ll still live on Earth, and we’ll still need to breathe air.”

Connect with Ben Bilbrough

You can reach Ben Bilbrough at, or find him on LinkedIn.

Related articles