Local online advertising in the US is set to increase by almost a third on last year, according to a new report.

Borrell Associates’ What Local Media Web Sites Earn: 2007 Survey, which polled over 2,800 local media sites, showed the market is forecast to reach $7.5bn this year.

Local media groups have conventionally been regarded among the most threatened by the rise of powerful national and international online properties.

But 25% of the surveyed sites said they would clock up revenue of over $1m this year, 6.6% of them over $10m, helping grow the online local ads market some 31.6%.

That is faster growth than national US online advertising, which will grow 20.7% to $22.1bn.

What’s more, proprietors will hire more dedicated local web ad sales staff. The report says:

“The number of locally based online-only salespeople grew 26%in 2006.
Budgeted figures for 2007 anticipate an additional 35% increase in hiring this year.”

Newspapers’ online ad revenue is expected to remain the biggest area, worth a forecast $3.2 bn.