RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

Programmatic Grows To 37% Of AOL's Ad Revenue

AOL Q3 earningsCEO Tim Armstrong thinks AOL's bets on programmatic are paying off.

Programmatic grew to 37% of non-search ad revenue, compared to 12%. Forty seven percent of revenue from AOL's network was programmatic, compared to 18% during the same period last year. Advertising revenue grew 18% YoY to $473.4 million.

Armstrong attributed the increase to larger shifts in the marketplace from network buys to programmatic buys and heralded the "mechanization of Madison Avenue" as one of the "quantum changes" in the industry over the past 20 years.

"This is a fundamental resetting of how Madison Avenue is going to work," Armstrong told AdExchanger. "All the customers I knew are moving to programmatic more quickly than they did a year ago,” he said.

He emphasized that AOL has positioned itself to be in the right place at the right time for this change.

"We see powerful trends from every one of our programmatic offerings:, One and Marketplace," Armstrong said. AOL is focusing on being a platform company, with scaled distribution, scaled content and scaled monetization.

To focus on "scaled" content, AOL said it would focus more on its largest brands, with smaller ones receiving decreased investment or being shuttered.

At the same time, investments in mobile and video continue to increase. Along with programmatic, these areas experienced over 100% growth year over year.

AOL is positioning itself to capture both TV budgets and is focused on the linear TV market, signing on ten clients. "Our thesis in marketplace is to help both sides [supply and demand] transition to online," Armstrong said. "The second thing, is with both sides there are yield maximization opportunities."

"It's really about the bridge that's being built between TV and video. That means advertisers need to bridge their campaigns and analytics," Armstrong said.


TripAdvisor ‘Winning On Mobile,’ But Won't Talk Monetization

tripadvisorTripAdvisor grew revenue by 39% in the third quarter but disappointed investors by missing its guidance for Q3.

Half of TripAdvisor’s traffic now comes from mobile, big news for a site that attracts 315 million monthly unique visitors.

That shift has challenged many traditional publishers, but TripAdvisor said it has mobile monetization and user experience under control. “We’re winning on mobile,” CEO Stephen Kaufer said.

He cited strong organic growth in downloads of TripAdvisor-owned apps, as well as increases in monthly active users.

About 150 million people have downloaded TripAdvisor apps to date, with downloads up 120% year over year.

But there were also signs that mobile isn’t the powerhouse Kaufer claimed. During a previous call with investors, TripAdvisor stated that mobile contributed less than 5% to revenue. Though that number has allegedly grown, Kaufer declined to update that figure.

He hinted that gains in mobile aren’t coming from better conversions or click rates, but from an influx of mobile users. “The bigger driver [in monetization] has been growth in install base, and overall traffic growth with more app installs,” Kaufer said. “Plus, it’s getting to scale, so it’s starting to fetch a more active CPC bidding environment.”

Display advertising on smartphones doesn’t work as well as it does on larger screens. “There’s a lot of traffic shifting over to phone, and the standard CPM ad doesn’t work well there,” Kaufer said. “We do have them, but they’re not our preferred method for helping advertisers find their target audience.”

He also admitted the company can’t track users across devices. (more…)

Time Inc. CEO: 'CPMs Have Gone Up In Programmatic'

Time IncTime Inc. reported increasing digital revenues and declining print revenue for the third quarter.

Digital revenue rose 5% YoY, but that increase upped to 19% excluding the impact of corporate transactions related to the spinoff from Time Warner.

During September 2014, Time Inc. attracted 93.6 million multiplatform unique visitors, an increase of 27% from December 2013.

“We are selling Time Inc. as a single premium media network, with cross-brand, cross-marketing solutions,” said CEO Joe Ripp, adding that the response from advertisers so far has been positive.

Advertisers can buy Time Inc. inventory programmatically through this network. “Our CPMs have actually gone up in programmatic quite handsomely,” Ripp said.

Time Inc. offers premium content environments, a global scale of 130 million consumers and “unmatched consumer data assets.”

Time Inc., which has said before it uses “premium exchanges,” said CPMs are strong, with growth in mobile and video. The company is moving hard into video, where online inventory remains scarce.

Time Inc. creates 600-800 video segments a month, and will have 8,000 pieces of video content next year, up from 4,000 last year. Daily shows SI Now and People Now are among the video properties Time Inc. has created.

Ripp hopes that online video will enable Time Inc. to “participate in the television budgets” of its advertisers. (more…)

How TheStreet Blends Custom And Programmatic Sales

TheStreetFinancial advertisers tend to focus on performance advertising. They want people to fund a brokerage account or sign up for a new credit card.

But TheStreet, which attracts 40 to 50 million visitors a month at its sites, which include a namesake website, plus Stockpickr, The Deal and MainStreet, has noticed more interest in brand advertising.

“Ever since the trust broke down in [the financial crisis of] 2008, we’ve seen a shift towards branding,” said Patrick Dignan, VP of advertising sales for TheStreet. “There’s a re-education that’s going on, and they’re interested in using video and native to do this.”

To accommodate this shift, TheStreet has upped its investment in native and video. It just launched a sponsored-content program, BrandView, bringing in native technology provider Polar. Meanwhile, a video studio will produce more high-quality content aimed at educating investors – creating more video supply in the process. In one program for Oppenheimer, subject-matter experts from the investment firm created videos speaking to three themes, including how advisers work with affluent people. Efforts such as these have helped drive video revenue up 100% in the past year. 

Even as it adds upper-funnel offerings, TheStreet continues to respond to changes across the advertising ecosystem.


For instance, its programmatic revenue increased 80% over the past year. One brokerage company runs 100% programmatic with TheStreet. That allows the advertiser to target consumers using its data and enhances its attribution abilities, Dignan said.

Often, brand and programmatic will sit side by side on plans, something TheStreet facilitates by letting salespeople sell native and custom ad units and programmatic. “We have no channel conflict. I have sales team sell everything,” Dignan said. (more…)

New York Times Reports 17% Revenue Growth, Cites Advances In Native And Programmatic

NYT imageDigital revenue rose 17% in Q3 at The New York Times. During the same time period, digital subscriptions rose 20%.

But overall revenue rose just 1% for the quarter -- anemic growth, though The New York Times spun it as good news, since digital increases almost offset declines in print. (earnings release)

“Smartphone, tablet, and video, taken together, are now a significant reason why we turned what was a revenue stream that was in slight decline that is now a revenue stream growing healthily,” said Times CEO Mark Thompson.

The gap between consumer usage on mobile and ads on mobile remains. Only 10% of digital revenue comes from mobile. In the past year, though, mobile increased from one-third of user sessions to over half of user sessions, said EVP of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien.

The Times mentioned ways it’s working to close that gap.

Paid Posts, which launched in January and attracted 30 clients so far, “was meant for the mobile world,” Levien said.

The Times launched mobile ad units, and is still experimenting with frequency and type of creative to find what works best on mobile. The publisher created a “full-screen, self-propelled, tappable story” designed to be viewed and monetized in the mobile market.

“Mobile is still small for us. We’re eager to put innovative product in the marketplace to move [that gap] closer together,” Levein said.

Levein said the company has made advances in the programmatic space, though she noted it’s still a small part of The Times’ business. (more…)

Remedy Health Pairs Data With Emotional Content

Health CentralWhen targeting ads and content, health publisher Remedy Health Media, whose network of sites attract 16 million unique visitors a month, faces greater challenges than most digital publishers.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains a privacy rule regulating the use of consumer health data, making it more difficult to personalize content and target advertising. The FDA regulates the messaging of the pharmaceutical companies that are the majority of Remedy Health’s advertisers.

But despite those challenges, Remedy Health has moved into two areas of innovation among publishers: sponsored content and data-segmented selling.

Sponsored Content

 Combining data with emotion is a key part of the way Remedy Health’s site positions itself in the market, explained CRO Jim Curtis. “Content has to strike a chord before the data means anything,” he said.

HealthCentral, the most heavily trafficked site in the Remedy Health family (which includes wellness site and HIV/AIDS resource, collects inspirational stories from patients who are also experts about their conditions.

Because of FDA regulations, HealthCentral has a unique native advertising strategy.

“You can’t do native advertising anywhere without a long medical review,” Curtis said. “Pharmaceutical companies are less likely to use the most innovate tactics to speak to patient base, because it hasn’t been vetted through the FDA or approved.”

The editorial team creates a personal story, which brands can exclusively sponsor, about the conditions HealthCentral covers every year.

When HealthCentral created a graphics-heavy, multimedia piece about a mountain climber who almost died from Crohn’s disease, it supplemented the story with banner ads from Humira, which produces a Crohn’s medication. (more…)

Digital Publishers Push Custom Advertising Ahead Of Display

XoGroupPublishers looking for new digital dollars have homed in on native and custom advertising packages. These initiatives, more than programmatic, served as the focus for the MediaNext conference Monday through Wednesday in New York City, where the publishing community convened to discuss the status of integrated marketing campaigns.

“More advertisers are separating their budgets, with 50% on programmatic and 50% on programs that are about social engagement or search engagement. We’re going after the non-programmatic budgets,” said Ryan Harwood, CEO of lifestyle publication PureWow.

Many publishers saw far more value in leveraging their social media followers, and in-house content team to develop custom offerings like games, sponsorships and custom creative. Display ad boxes and rectangles exist, but often are tacked on to add accountability to formats that still don’t have deep analytics.

“What I’m seeing in the market is the low hanging fruit display dollars are going toward programmatic,” Harwood said.

Canadian publisher Jobpostings underwent a dramatic shift to accommodate the changing needs of advertisers. “Five years ago it was so simple,” said publisher Nathan Laurie, “You’d sell a full page, half page, or quarter page.”

These days Jobpostings ads go beyond a box. “Our packages have turned into sales that involve content online, done by our writers, similar to native advertising, and social media integration. We’re marketing the web, and giving the print away for free,” Laurie said. (more…)

AARP Turns To Krux To Act On Its First-Party Data

Krux AARPBecause AARP serves a specific demographic – people over 50 – the magazine has long understood just how valuable it was to provide advertisers with a segmented audience.

But within that age bracket, there is incredible diversity of segments that the AARP knew would provide value to advertisers. So the team decided to use Krux to build its data-management platform (DMP), which would run across AARP The magazine section and as a whole.

Through Krux, the AARP could create segments on the site and offer advertisers audience extension. Internally, the site could use the platform to boost membership.

Since AARP implemented Krux more than a year ago across, the average CPM of run-of-site placements doubled with the audience data from the DMP added in. The site's investment in Krux’s software gave it a return six times over.

Key to the success was the ability for the AARP to leverage its offline data, which had subscribers’ birthdays, household income, gender and other demographic data provided by the user.

The Advertiser Advantage

“Advertisers crave finding quality, declared demographic data,” said Mike Moreau, chief solutions officer of Krux. “A lot of the third-party data available is inferred. In the AARP’s case, you have people saying: ‘This is my birthday.’”

Krux enables AARP to combine that offline data with other behavioral data that might take place on the site, as well as third-party data Krux brings in from other providers. That gives advertisers plenty of options for how to use audience targeting. (more…)

Say Media CEO: Media Companies Will Live Or Die By Content Platforms

Matt Sanchez SAY MEDIA NEWThe best way for publishers to survive these days may be to become technology companies.

“Media businesses will win because of their content platform strategies,” predicted Say Media CEO Matt Sanchez.

Say Media is both a technology provider and publisher of numerous online magazines including xoJane, ReadWrite, Remodelista, xoVain and Not Impossible Now. As a vendor, it’s known for its publishing platform Tempest, which enables publishers to create more engaging content and ad units to drive better engagement.

The platform also offers rich data and attention metrics. “Bringing everything together into one stack gives you better control and insight,” Sanchez said.

Those insights bolster the advertising and editorial sides: “We’re telling advertisers they need to think more like publishers,” said Sanchez. “Tools that make better content can also make better advertising.”

Say Media plans to use its technology platform to build a broader advertising network. Tempest, which is free for publishers, runs on five sites not owned by Say Media: Beauty Editor, House of Brinson, LifetimeMoms, BIO and Fashionista.

In exchange, Say Media manages all the sites’ unsold inventory. Advertisers who buy one of Say Media’s custom, high-impact ad units can distribute that to a broader network of sites running on Tempest.

Sanchez talked to AdExchanger. (more…)

Rubicon’s Ad Engine Aims To Help Publishers Make The Most Of What They’ve Got

directdealPublishers looking to maximize their yield need to think more like buyers. 

With that goal in mind, Rubicon Project unveiled Ad Engine on Thursday, a beta feature running in its Seller Cloud with NewsCorp as a launch partner. Although Rubicon hasn’t released an official date for when the product will made made generally available, Josh Turner, director of product management for Seller Cloud, said he’s looking at Q1 2015 or “perhaps earlier if we feel like it’s ready.”

Ad Engine aims to go beyond mediation to help publishers optimize revenue across the breadth of their inventory by allowing them to do their own trading and set up their own direct advertising deals in addition to programmatic buys, which they could do already. 

The impetus for this feature came from a trend Kaylie Smith, head of Rubicon Project’s Seller Cloud, started seeing several years ago – mostly in Europe – in which publishers attempted to optimize performance by slapping together two or three different demand-side platforms (DSPs) that weren’t necessarily purpose-built to support the publisher community. 

“A lot of what they picked off the shelf they had to cobble together with sticky tape and rubber bands to make it work,” Smith said. “It’s something that we’ve seen accelerate in the US this year. We built a platform to meet that market need.”