Meredith SVP Nicole Lesko On Being Flexible Through The Pandemic

Social Distancing With Friends

As the publisher that’s all about comfy, organized homes, recipes, gardening and decorating, Meredith’s content has been especially relevant during the pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean the publisher hasn’t experienced its share of disruption, says Meredith SVP of data, ad platforms and monetization Nicole Lesko.

Like the rest of the industry, programmatic CPMs bottomed out in April. Though Meredith doesn’t cover the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement the same way news organizations do, Lesko’s team observed that articles about the virus and civil unrest have lower CPMs than those that don’t.

Lately, things have been looking up. In June, “CPMs grew gangbusters,” as advertisers that had been holding back spent Q2 budgets, Lesko said. And RFP volume has almost doubled, another positive sign that buyers are thinking about their advertising plans. But buyers are asking for (and receiving) more flexibility, so the publisher knows nothing is guaranteed in this climate.

As Lesko looks beyond the immediate short-term concerns of managing through a pandemic, identity is a big area of focus.

Nicole LeskoMeredith is coming up with its own capabilities around first-party data. And Lesko recently joined the W3C Improving Web Advertising business group, with an eye toward monitoring and shaping the browser future without third-party cookies.

And when she hasn’t been working her way through the pandemic, she’s been enjoying the content Meredith products: trying to follow Better Homes & Gardens advice and not kill the fruit trees in her backyard, and catching up with the latest streaming hits – recommended, of course, by Meredith-owned Entertainment Weekly.

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