How Publishers Can Use Lionshare, a Digital-Media Planning Tool

A new digital-media planning platform can help news publishers bring in advertising revenue.

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), based in Columbia, Missouri, and LION Digital Media, headquartered in Seattle, recently launched LIONshare. The platform, which is constantly being upgraded, lets publishers put their products and services in front of advertisers and media planners easily and quickly.

The platform, which can be accessed by all digital marketers and publishers that are granted a free license, started as an internal tool for LION Digital Media. With the help of RJI, LION Digital Media transformed the tool into an open-source platform.

“We are aiming for wide-scale adoption on both the publisher side and the agency/brand side,” said Conrad Jungmann, founder of LION Digital Media and 2014-15 RJI fellow. “To have a free planning tool, we felt, would be the easiest way to accomplish that.”

LIONshare’s three main features are local market research (market snapshots), local site research (publisher profiles) and a local media planner (planning wizard).

For the first core component, LIONshare divided the U.S. into 418 local marketing zones of population centers of more than 50,000 people. Each zone includes a ranking of every local media website.

The second component involves a proprietary mapping and matching logic that pulls detailed data from about 7,300 local media websites. Each website has been assigned a unique geo footprint to show its in-market coverage down to the zip-code level.

Each publisher profile covers all ad units, including those for desktop, email, mobile, tablet and video. The publisher profiles are visible to advertisers and media planners.

Lastly, the planning wizard uses those profiles and footprints to pull matches for an advertising campaign request for proposal into a working media plan.

“It takes about 5 minutes to pull together a media plan,” Jungmann said. “In the past, it would take days to pull together that same media plan.”

Marketing options

Because LIONshare covers a large number of local marketing zones, there are plenty of opportunities for targeted marketing. LIONshare enables regional and national media planners to look at more than just large media properties. The tool includes research on the websites of rural, small town and suburban newspapers as well as alternative and ethnic news organizations.

A recent RJI blog post described how the tool gives local media websites a chance to be included in regional and national advertising campaigns.

“As the news websites roll out new products and content sections, the platform will serve as a powerful marketing tool allowing thousands of media planners to view a site’s continually updated ad capabilities,” Randy Picht, RJI’s executive director and former news executive, said in the post.

Jungmann has received positive feedback about the tool. Publishers have received new business from the platform, he said. On the ad agency/brand side, several hundred companies have set up accounts, he added.

How publishers can get started

Publishers can update their profiles as often as they like by taking these steps:

  1. Log into
  2. If your media property is in the database, make sure the information is up to date.
  3. If your property is not listed, add it and a LIONshare admin will get it verified.
  4. In your property’s profile, check your company’s geo footprint for accuracy. Add monthly traffic numbers and site capabilities.

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