RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Publishers’ Category


From Moviepilot With Love: A Data Set Of Movie Buffs for Studios

MoviepilotMovie advertising timelines are rough. Over 80% of a campaign spend occurs within two weeks of a movie’s premiere. If something isn’t working, it’s usually too late to fix it.

Moviepilot -- part publisher, part platform, part agency – is helping them change that. The secret of its insight into moviegoers’ habits and intent: data.

The US site, just two-and-a-half years old, attracts 30 million monthly unique visitors and has amassed 28 million Facebook fans. This summer, Webedia bought the five-year-old German version of the site for $20 million. Founder Tobi Bauckhage said the sale allows him to fund and focus on the US site.

The audience skews young and male, with strong content offerings in superhero, horror and young adult verticals.

For Moviepilot, display buys and site takeovers take a backseat to information. It cares more about selling its data to others than selling ads on its own site.

The goal is to “make money outside your own platforms” using your own data, said Bauckhage, citing Amazon as a company with a similar approach to audience-extension offerings.

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Newsmax Wrangles Like-Minded Publishers With Its Content Recommendation Network

newsmax content recThere’s a reason most publishers turn to partners like Outbrain or Taboola for content recommendation: simplicity.

But conservative news publisher Newsmax Media saw the benefits of creating a content recommendation network in-house: more revenue, more control over the content and its partners and more flexibility to make the feeds look truly native.

The main Newsmax site attracts 14 million monthly unique visitors, and the Newsmax Feed Network serves 550 million monthly impressions from 2,000 like-minded publishers.

Its partners include the National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network and other sites with religious content or conservative political or financial views. The publishers share revenue with Newsmax.

“We wanted to be on sites similar to our site, who have the same target group – baby boomers 45 and above,” Chaturvedi said.

To manage the huge scale of this custom system, Newsmax needed a technology partner.

After creating the content recommendation system in-house as a proof of concept, Newsmax decided to integrate its work with Adzerk’s platform. That way it wouldn’t have to build the ad-serving, optimization and reporting tools itself, nor maintain them.

Six months in, it started capturing impression data using Adzerk. Four months ago, Newsmax’s self-serve RTB system, which marries the in-house solution with Adzerk’s platform, went live.

To match the right content to the right publisher, Newsmax created three news feeds: financial, political and health. “We come up with a feed for the publisher that would work best according to our data. For financial sites, our health feeds work better than financial news,” said Ayush Chaturvedi, the senior software architect who implemented the feed.  (more…)


Goodreads Looks For Advertisers Outside The Publishing World

GoodreadsGoodreads’ 30 million members save books to their “want to read” shelves, write reviews and share recommendations with friends.

Started as a place to help readers find books through real-life friends, it’s since become a social destination for people connecting with online and offline friends, attracting 45 million unique visitors a month.

The trove of data from these readers attracted the likes of Amazon, which acquired the company in April 2013 for a reported $150 million.

“We’re in this unique position of having deep targeted data on 30 million book lovers,” said David Creechan, VP of ad sales. “This genre and intent-based data allows us to create custom targeted display and email campaigns.”

Besides display and email, Goodreads’ social component – a book rated five stars by a friend will be noticed by all those in her circle – enables brands to “build an earned media component” into campaigns, Creechan said.

Goodreads operates as an independent subsidiary of Amazon, important for the book publishers that run campaigns on the site – and who are often at odds with Amazon. “We have great relationships with book publishers,” Creechan said.

But despite its independence, Goodreads is leveraging Amazon Media Group to explore opportunities to work with advertisers outside the publishing industry.

Ford Audiobook Club

Earlier this year, Goodreads created the “Ford Audiobook Club,” a collaboration with the Amazon Media Group, Amazon-owned Audible.com and Ford, which wanted to reach women between 25 and 45 who listened to audiobooks.

Goodreads looked at its trending data to identify books on the cusp of being big that would resonate with Ford’s target audience. Their first selection was “#GIRLBOSS,” by fashion entrepreneur Sophie Amoruso. The author would join readers for a discussion of the book at the end of the month. (more…)


Yieldex CEO Talks About Jumping Into The Automated Guaranteed Pool

Andy NibleyEarlier this year, Yieldex – mostly known as a yield-management, forecasting and pricing tool for the largest publishers – expanded its focus with an automated guaranteed product. About a third of Yieldex’s customers use it.

eMarketer has predicted programmatic direct will grow from $800 million this year to $8.57 billion by 2016. Two weeks ago, Rubicon bought two smaller players in the space, iSocket and Shiny Ads, and rumors abound that Google is months away from entering the market itself.

CEO Andy Nibley has been with 8-year-old Yieldex for four years, over which time it’s tripled its number of employees to 70, he said.

“We’ve been growing revenue an average of 40% a year for the past several years. It’s a software-as-a-service business, so we have 65-70% in gross margins, which is nice,” he explained. “We’ve broken into profitability last year, a year and a half ahead of schedule.”

Nibley talked to AdExchanger.

ADEXCHANGER: If you’re growing revenue 40% a year, is that going to be from gaining market share among the top publishers, or something else?

ANDY NIBLEY: We see the market as the comScore 200. We have 50 now, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, CNN, NBC, CBS, Hearst, Scripps. There’s still a lot of room to grow there.

We also have new products and upsells and our new automated guaranteed product offering.

How does automated guaranteed work for Yieldex?

It’s kind of a logical evolution of our product line. If you think of other industries, like the financial services or travel, you start with a lot of data, and then you build an analytics capability on top of that so you can analyze the data and see what’s happening.

Ultimately with those analytics you can see the history, and you can see the future, and you can begin to forecast what’s going to happen in the future. That’s what we’ve done in the ad tech so far. The last part is transactional. Now that you have all this intelligence, how do you transact based on that knowledge? That’s automated guaranteed.

What’s different about Yieldex’s automated guaranteed product?

Two competitive advantages we have over anyone else in that space is, one, we have this blue-chip list of the biggest publishers who have the best inventory that the buy side wants to purchase.

Two, no one else has the accurate forecasting and analytics layer that we have. Buyers want to know they’re getting a placement on that premium publisher’s site that they can count on, that no one is going to outbid them, that it’s a locked-in deal and guaranteed. (more…)


Food52’s Recipe For Success: Mixing Content, Commerce, and Advertising

Food52 - Amanda HesserFrom the start, foodie site Food52 planned to have two revenue streams: advertising and commerce. Today, commerce drives two-thirds of its revenue, with advertising accounting for the other third.

The site now averages four million unique monthly visitors. After building up content, 98% of which is contributed by readers, Food52 had the audience to add an e-commerce arm. That section, Provisions, went live in August of 2013. That same year, the publisher began selling advertising directly.

The site doesn’t write content that it think will drive sales; instead, it looks for natural fits between the content and products. Below most stories, there is a recommendations module with two links to related content and two links to related products.

“You might come to Food52 for advice on grilling steak, but you might also need a rub for that steak, or a cutting broad, or steak knives to serve it with,” said CEO and co-founder Amanda Hesser. “Those things have been separated from the helpful content. We brought together everything you need and created one place for it.”

The site’s approach is working: 40% of commerce conversions come from a piece of content.

The rest of those sales come from more traditional channels: social, email, affiliate programs, and paid social or search. One and a half million people subscribe to Food52 emails. Affiliates – often smaller food, cooking, and lifestyle sites – together form a network that extends the same principles of marrying content and commerce.

Food52 found its commerce focus put it on the same page with its advertisers.

“Because we have commerce as a big part our brand, we have proof that we can activate our audience. It gives us a huge advantage in the relationship building for advertisers and proof that we understand our audience,” Hesser said.

E-commerce businesses are known for their clean data and easy attribution from ads to sale. Food52 is working on organizing and applying its data for use internally and on behalf of advertisers.

Its entry point into understanding its users better is Collections, a Pinterest-like service that allows users to collect and file their favorite online items. One of Hesser’s collections, “Cocktail Hour,” features a mix of recipes and products, such as whimsical drink stirrers. (more…)


The Next Web Sells Drones (And Other Things) To Merge Commerce and Advertising

TNW dealsNot every publisher sees selling drones as a natural extension of its business.

But converting readers into customers is the next goal for The Next Web, an online tech magazine that has 6.6 million unique monthly visitors.

For the past three months, the company has been using StackCommerce to power its e-commerce store, called TNW Deals, which features a huge variety of products, including drones, mobile chargers, and boxed sets of whiskey. In other words: “The coolest things we can find,” said Rey Caacbay, senior business development manager.

The site now drives 10% of The Next Web’s total revenue.

Pairing content and commerce has unlocked data that The Next Web applies in other areas of the business, including advertising. For example, shopper data is a valuable asset for advertisers interested in buying sponsored posts. And blog posts and social media updates highlight products, which the site curates to ensure they align with audience interests.

“We can show our customers the information we’re getting from the e-commerce side, the conversion rate, how our audience interacts with the deals,” Caacbay said. “Now we have the numbers to back up the fact that our audience is creative and entrepreneurial, and buys a lot of e-learning items.”

Advertisers can participate in The Next Web articles in one of three ways: underwriting an article, sponsoring posts that mention their brand, and performance posts, which are designed to sell products.

“Because of TNW Deals, we have the data to give back to [advertisers] so they can build a performance model,” said Juan Buis, partnerships manager. “We can actually show them what we expect in terms of CTR or conversion rate.” (more…)


Impression Feast: How Food Publishers Handle The Thanksgiving Rush

thanksgiving bounty IIFor recipe sites, the days leading up to Thanksgiving bring a rush of users searching for turkey-basting tips and instructions for making stuffing and pumpkin pie. In the coming weeks, the winter holidays will bolster traffic even more.

These audience surges represent an opportunity and challenge for publishers as they try to maximize yield. Sales and operations teams must make sure their direct-sold campaigns deliver while optimizing monetization through programmatic channels. Helpfully, demand surges along with supply during this period. This is Q4 after all.

AdExchanger spoke with Epicurious/Bon Appétit, AllRecipes, The New York Times and Food52 about how they monetize during America’s most food-focused holiday.

Epicurious and Bon Appétit (Condé Nast)

This Thanksgiving will be Epicurious and Bon Appétit’s first grouped together in Condé Nast’s Food Innovation Group, a newly formed entity that leverages the combined scale of the two publishers. The goal for the group, officially formed in October, is to give advertisers a one-stop shop, said Craig Kostelic, head of digital sales for the Food Innovation Group.

The two publications combined had about 10 million unduplicated cross-platform uniques in September, according to comScore. That combined scale means bigger RFPs, Kostelic said. Advertisers can extend campaigns further through the Food Innovation Group Shopper Network, a web of food sites that reached 47 million unduplicated cross-platform uniques in October, again per comScore.

Maximizing yield required organizational changes within the group.

“We created an associate planning director that is a gatekeeper," Kostelic said. This person keeps the sell-through rate “on point” and focuses on ad products and inventory, he said. “Having someone who had been a planner, and not a business director, is a huge step forward.”

Programmatic selling occurs on a corporate level across Condé Nast, not at the magazine level. “We use their expertise to figure out what makes sense for CPM floors based on what we’re seeing from a direct standpoint, in order to yield the most revenue we can,” Kostelic said. (more…)


Sonobi Wants In On Publishers’ Walled Gardens

Prog Premium HearstThe walled gardens around publishers’ premium inventory are hard to take down, since publishers are reluctant to put premium inventory in channels associated with low-priced, performance-focused inventory.

But Sonobi, whose platform combines direct-sold impressions with those sold programmatically, is trying to chip away at those walls. The company hosted a Premium Programmatic Summit with its partner MediaMath and its client Hearst on Tuesday.

“I think one of the fears publishers have is [that] the way display moved to programmatic was a disaster and a poor case study,” said LUMA Partners founder and CEO Terence Kawaja. “As we move to premium inventory and ad formats like video, native, TV – that’s where publishers are making their money, and they don’t want to mess up the ecosystem like we did with display.”

Sonobi believes that if publishers let all their inventory compete – both programmatic and premium – programmatic impressions may outbid direct-sold ones. The way many publishers have waterfalls set up now, a $7 direct-sold CPM will win against a $10 CPM received programmatically. But if the bids and direct-sold inventory arrive at the same time, the highest price wins. This benefits both publishers and advertisers: When advertisers know a publisher exposes all of its inventory, they feel better assured of campaign delivery.

For some publishers, bringing programmatic into premium environments made perfect sense. “The reason we have made all our inventory available programmatically is that if an advertiser is willing to buy at a rate that will compete or beat, there is no reason we shouldn’t take that,” said William Murray, VP of sales planning and strategy at Scripps.

Other publishers struggle to get higher CPMs in programmatic.

Gretchen Grant, president of home-improvement site BobVila.com, bemoaned the difference in CPMs between direct sold and programmatic. Telling the story of the site to advertisers, or selling on context, gets the site its premium CPMs. Audience-targeted impressions net the site fractions of its brand buys, not its audience.

Agencies acknowledged being part of this problem. “Business Insider has the same audience as The Wall Street Journal for 10% to 20% the price,” said Adam Heimlich, SVP of programmatic at Horizon. “The price is being degraded, but it’s such a better deal.” (more…)


This Old House Drills Into Online Video

This Old HouseThis Old House, the venerable home-improvement brand, possesses a trove of video assets highly valued by users and advertisers alike.

Video is the very foundation of This Old House. The brand started off as a local Boston television show in 1979, and it now runs nationally on PBS. Time Inc., which had been running This Old House magazine, acquired the brand in 2001.

Originally, the show's video assets made their way online virtually unchanged and without much consideration about monetization.

“We were quite naïve about it,” said Scott Omelianuk, editor of This Old House Ventures. “We had ten to 15-minute clips for people who were on dial-up. We had video that no one was watching except our most dedicated fans. It wasn’t monetized, either, because advertisers weren’t interested in it.”

Cut to today, with an Internet dominated by craft albums and DIY videos. It’s a culture that plays to This Old House’s strengths, such that video is one of the site’s main draws.

“We have a very high video conversion rate compared to most publishers,” Omelianuk said. “Two out of three people who come to the site watch video, and they ... watch multiple videos.”

Instead of an online dumping ground for old videos, Omelianuk oversees a much more organized video hub. Among the DIY content are themed series like “Salvage Style,” “Family Projects” and “Team Saturday.” The latter garnered sponsorship from Jim Beam, which discreetly inserted itself into make-your-own games projects.

To monetize these videos, This Old House focuses on both sides of the video equation: CPM and sponsored.

This Old House takes advantage of a growing audience and pre-roll CPMs of $30+ (down from $100 CPMs easily garnered in video’s early heyday, Omelianuk noted). The rise of mobile benefits video, giving viewers an additional channel to watch This Old House content.

“Our completion rates on video are fantastic,” publisher Nate Stamos said. “We’ll have 22-minute episodes with 60% completion rates, and 800,000 to 1 million video starts a month.” (more…)


How SheKnows Plans To Scale Up Native Through BlogHer

sheknows blogherDoes anyone want to be a content creator anymore?

Women’s lifestyle site SheKnows has jumped into the user-generated content fray by buying BlogHer, which provides a technology platform for bloggers as well as opportunities to monetize. SheKnows paid an estimated $30 million-$40 million,

The acquisition fits with SheKnows’ recent efforts to turn its community into content creators, instead of just focusing on editorial content. Its “Experts Among Us” platform puts blogging hats on more than 500 members of the community, giving them a space to blog their views within SheKnows.com.

BlogHer adds 30 million monthly uniques to SheKnows’ 45 million monthly uniques. The company bought StyleCaster in August, which added 3 million uniques to SheKnows’ total.

SheKnows will add scale to its sponsored content business as it goes after the market for millennial women.

“We both have a strong imprint in branded content,” said SheKnows CEO Philippe Guelton. “SheKnows has always been at the forefront, with 75% of our business tied to some kind of sponsored, custom content creation for brands. It’s similar on the BlogHer side.”

SheKnows plans to leverage BlogHer’s platform, InfluenceHer360, across the entire business. The platform predicts how much traffic a sponsored post could bring. An advertiser looking for influencers can find potential matches through the platform.

“It guarantees engagement and total reach, including through social amplification, for an advertiser,” Guelton said.

The platform functions end to end, allowing for onboarding and management of content creators as well as performance tracking.

SheKnows’ strategy bears some comparison to the multichannel networks that have thrived by collecting like-minded content creators on YouTube. (more…)