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LA Startup Scene: Riding the Digital Wave in the City of Angels

Digital Marketing Greg Bentler 8 min read

Los Angeles skyline at sunset with palm trees represents Ascend Adwerks' digital marketing services offered to LA local businesses.

When considering the startup scene, cities like San Francisco and New York come to mind first. However, Los Angeles has quietly been building an impressive and diverse entrepreneurial landscape of its own.

With its proximity to Hollywood and dominance in the entertainment industry, LA has naturally become a hub for media, e-commerce, and tech startups looking to leverage these connections. Startups have additional opportunities to tap into LA's massive market of trend-focused consumers hungry for the latest digital offerings.

While the LA startup scene faces challenges like navigating bureaucracy and high overhead costs, those who understand the unique dynamics of this city and capitalize on digital marketing are finding success.

In this article, we'll dive into LA's varied startup ecosystem, discuss digital marketing strategies for LA startups, and highlight case studies of companies that mastered digital marketing in LA.

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LA's Diverse Startup Ecosystem


Unlike Silicon Valley, which is mainly tech-centric, LA's startup scene features more diversity across sectors. Three significant segments stand out: entertainment/media, e-commerce/retail, and tech startups.


Entertainment & Media Startups

Given LA's dominance in the entertainment industry, it's no surprise that many media startups are based here. Production companies, podcast networks, influencer agencies, and more leverage existing connections to Hollywood. Startups also focus on digital content, social media, AR/VR, and gaming.

Santa Monica has become a hotspot for YouTube networks and influencer companies. Startups like Fullscreen, DanceOn, and theAudience have found immense success working with digital content creators.

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E-commerce & Retail Startups


With its fashion-focused culture, LA is prime territory for e-commerce and retail startups specializing in apparel, accessories, beauty, and lifestyle products.

Direct-to-consumer brands thrive here, using digital channels to build cult followings. Startups like FIGS, Billie, and Skims have mastered social media marketing to drive brand awareness and sales.

Many technology startups in LA also cater to e-commerce needs, like optimizing mobile shopping and payments.


Tech Startups


LA also has a growing community of tech startups, spanning fields like fintech, health tech, transportation, space tech, robotics, and more.

Silicon Beach emerged as a hotspot in Santa Monica, where hundreds of tech startups cluster together. Google, Facebook, Snap, and other tech giants have opened offices here, fostering an innovative environment.

LA tech startups attract significant VC funding, benefiting from access to capital sources in Silicon Valley. Mobile gaming startups also thrive with LA's entertainment talent.

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Leveraging Digital Marketing


While LA's massive, decentralized layout poses challenges, startups can overcome this through digital marketing and social media.

Building a solid online presence and running targeted digital campaigns allows startups to reach precisely the right audiences throughout LA. Here are some effective digital marketing strategies for LA startups:


Content Marketing

Creating compelling, creative content like blogs, videos, and podcasts does wonders for establishing brand authority and trust in LA.

Tapping into entertainment industry connections can give startups an edge here. Partnering with influencers and celebrities allows wider content reach.

Optimizing content for SEO is critical for discovery. LA consumers are very search-driven.


Social Media Marketing


Visual social platforms like Instagram and TikTok are highly influential in image-focused LA. Startups should promote authentic content and engage followers daily.

Influencer marketing on social media can be highly effective. However, brands must ensure influencer values and content align.

Social listening also provides valuable insights into LA consumer needs and trends. Startups can then fine-tune products and messaging accordingly.


Search Engine Optimization


With so many options, LA consumers rely heavily on search to discover and research new brands. Startups must optimize sites for keywords that matter to their LA target audiences.

Local SEO is also vital, helping startups stand out in geo-targeted searches across LA neighborhoods.

Review management, effective metadata, and schema markup boost visibility in search results.


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Case Studies of Successful LA Startups


Some great examples of LA-based startups using stellar digital marketing to gain traction include:


Tinder - Dating App Success Story


Headquartered in West Hollywood, the popular dating app Tinder helped pioneer "swipe culture." They perfected digital marketing for customer acquisition.

Tinder ran social media ads targeted by location and interest, capitalizing on word-of-mouth and user-generated content. The app went viral amongst LA's massive market of singles.


Dollar Shave Club - Viral Video Marketing

Dollar Shave Club's hilarious viral video campaign propelled the subscription-shaving startup to success.

The memorable 2012 YouTube video instantly resonated with LA's male demographic. Dollar Shave Club gained 12,000 subscribers in the first 48 hours.


Snap Inc. - Social Media Powerhouse


Snapchat's developer, Snap Inc., has become dominant in LA's tech scene. Their app perfectly aligned with LA's youthful, social media-savvy market.

Snap Inc. frequently partners with LA influencers on creative social campaigns. Their digital ads and AR filters are optimized for LA's mobile-first users.

Despite past stereotypes that LA lacked a cohesive startup identity, the City of Angels has cultivated an impressive entrepreneurial landscape. With digital marketing, LA's diverse array of startups can amplify their message and find breakout success.

The convergence of entertainment, fashion, and technology provides fertile ground for innovative brands. As the LA startup ecosystem matures, we'll likely see many more success stories emerge.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the most popular industry for startups in LA?

Entertainment and media startups are trendy in LA, given the city's dominance in Hollywood and content creation. Many digital media startups leverage LA's entertainment connections.


Where do most LA startups tend to be located?

Many are clustered in areas like Silicon Beach in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Downtown LA. However, startups can be found spread throughout the vast LA metro region.


How can LA startups use digital marketing to their advantage?

Optimizing content for SEO, collaborating with influencers on social media, and running targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help LA startups reach the right local audiences digitally.


What is an example of a successful LA startup?

Dollar Shave Club is an excellent example of an LA startup that leveraged viral video marketing to achieve rapid growth and a vast customer base. Their creative digital campaigns aligned perfectly with the LA market.


What makes the LA startup ecosystem unique compared to other major cities?

The diversity across sectors, from entertainment to fashion to tech, creates a dynamic environment. LA startups also benefit from the massive local consumer market and celebrity/influencer talent connections.


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Greg Bentler

Greg Bentler, founder of Ascend Adwerks, is a visionary entrepreneur with a passion for digital marketing and technology. With a rich background spanning various sectors, Greg combines his deep understanding of business with cutting-edge marketing strategies to propel brands forward. When he's not leading his dynamic team at Ascend Adwerks or diving into the latest tech trends, Greg is committed to lifelong learning, traveling, and his family. Dive into his insights and join the journey to digital excellence.

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