Targeting Young Men, Publisher Break Media Concentrates On Direct Ad Sales Says CTO Wilson

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Break MediaNick Wilson, CTO, Break Media, a network of properties targeting young men.

AdExchanger.com What problem is Break Media solving for advertisers today?

NW: We offer clients the ability to reach a targeted audience of young men by producing, promoting, and distributing clients’ original videos and branded content across the Break Media Network of sites. Additionally, we provide cutting-edge technology solutions to measure the effectiveness of client campaigns by utilizing third-party research and metrics.

What do you think large media publishers should be doing regarding data strategies these days?

Targetable audience data is a key component of our strategy from both reach and optimization perspectives. It's a good idea for large publishers to obtain as much useful, relevant data as possible about how users navigate a particular site. From a sales perspective, advertisers and agencies can leverage this data to better inform their decisions, and because of this, Break Media partners with data aggregators like BluKai and eXelate.

What is your view on demand-side platforms? And are they having an impact on your business?

Break Media is not directly impacted by demand-side platforms.  We own and operate branded destination sites, and our network is primarily comprised of sites that we have direct relationships with. We also offer highly engaging, custom video-centric rich media executions. When you roll these things up with our ability to produce branded video content through our in-house studio the Creative Lab, it is evident that our business is not based on high volume "long tail" inventory like that of a startup display network's business.

How does Break Media manage yield optimization?  Any solutions in the marketplace providing an effective sell-side platform solution?

The Break sales team is extremely effective, and does an excellent job of selling the majority of our "tier one" inventory. We have also in the past experimented with utilizing several of the primary vendors that offer optimization for "tier two" inventory, with varying results. What is key to understand is that when a publisher becomes part of the Break Media Network, they are accessing campaigns and deals that come through our direct sales team.

Overall, what's your technology strategy for advertising whether display, video, mobile - do you build or buy?

Since its inception, Break Media has always pushed the envelope with innovative advertising solutions. We're constantly building out new technologies across multiple platforms.  For example, Break.com was one of the first video sites to be fully-iPad compliant for content and also individual iPad-specific campaign creatives. To provide the best service to our clients, we believe in ground-up engineering of all products to ensure maximum customization.

Why did Break Media start Apogee Media Network?

Apogee Media Network is a new performance marketing division of the company that will work with advertisers on a CPA basis.  It was started in response to advertiser demand in the area of performance-based initiatives.  Apogee provides internal and external traffic channels with core strengths in customer acquisition, email marketing and social media.

Is Break Media making its inventory available via ad exchanges?  Why?  Do you see real-time bidding as providing a benefit to publishers?

If a buyer wants to access Break's inventory, they make a deal directly with our sales team.  We believe that the best way for a small to medium sized publisher to monetize their inventory is to join a quality network with a strong and respected sales team like Break Media.

What's your view on Facebook's social graph strategy?

There's clearly a trend for the Internet population to expose much of a user’s online activities to that user’s circle of friends and others. The Facebook open graph strategy makes it easier for site visitors, publishers, and ultimately advertisers to access and share this data. Providing that there's a clear ability to "opt out" of data sharing—and it’s important to remember that creating a Facebook account is optional—these steps are a positive thing for the Internet overall.

Will there be Facebook "like" buttons all over Break Media sites?  Does it concern you that "like" data could be used for ad targeting off of your site without direct compensation?

Break Media has already adopted "like" buttons on millions of pages, with all content items being enabled in the coming weeks. Within the first 24 hours of operation, we saw over 1M "like" button presses. It remains to be seen the degree to which clicks on the "like" button can be used by third parties for targeting.

A year from now, what milestones would you like Break Media to have accomplished?

Speaking as the CTO, I'd like to see Break Media cement and grow its already dominant position as a leading web publisher. I'd also like to ensure that we continue to be recognized as an innovator in the ad product space designing and building products that both our site visitors and advertisers love. Also, some of the new initiatives we're just starting on will be bearing fruit, particularly with other platforms such as mobile and consumer electronics.

Follow Break Media (@break_media) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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