B2B Publisher Chooses A DMP To Serve Readers And Advertisers Alike

Cxense Sift MediaSift Media, publisher of such websites as Accountingweb.co.uk and HRZone.co.uk, wanted to use data to create better experiences for the reader and better results for its advertisers. It found its technology match in Cxense, which offers audience data management and analytics geared to the publisher.

“It was the first solution [we came across] that came from a publisher perspective, and not an advertising perspective,” said Ian Robins, head of marketing for Sift Media.

Cxense wasn’t even among the top two finalists during Sift Media’s year-long search for a data-management platform (DMP), said Robins. But when the team finally met Cxense, it was impressed by the platform’s ability to apply audience insights to both user and advertiser experiences on its properties. The team was sold and started implementing Cxense about two months ago.

The team started with two initial goals: “First, being able to deliver relevant content to each individual based on what they do on the site. Second, understanding our anonymous audience more, so we can develop a highly targeted advertising strategy that will give our advertisers better results,” Robins said.

On the reader side, Cxense supplies content widgets designed to facilitate deeper engagement with Sift Media content. Based on a viewer’s reading history, it will surface articles that fit with the reader profile, or are logical follow-ups to the story being read. It can also create modules that show top stories.

“Right now, our sites are more interruptive. We want to clean up our sites to create a smaller, more compelling environment. For the brands we work with, that’s a more effective way for them to get higher conversions,” Robins said. In some cases, that will even involve removing ad slots to give a cleaner, less cluttered experience for the reader.

“We’re trying to obsess over audiences in a positive way, and how we can better support them,” Robins said. That means using Google’s HEART framework to assess the user experience on the site. The team is looking deeply at how users browse through the site, and how “we can encourage them to sign up.”

On the advertising side, the team is just now building out audience segments in the DMP. The goal is twofold: first, to leverage predefined segments for some of its more routine buys with agencies and ad networks, and second, to create a private marketplace using its audience data.

For direct sales, Sift Media will create custom segments to help individual advertisers with direct buys. “The way we work is more consultative,” Robins said. “We take a proactive stance working with clients, trying to understand what goals they’ve got, who they’re trying to reach and then measuring satisfaction.”

Those custom segments for advertisers could take into account frequency of visits and what areas of the site the user is visiting, for example, to determine if a reader on Accountingweb.co.uk is interested in tax software.

To build those segments, Sift Media had to categorize its content. So far, “the biggest part was us implementing some things around better defined metadata,” which the team did using a Drupal module.

The team’s working approach is agile. “We set simplistic goals, take small steps, test, learn and then change and refine further.” Sift Media is doing that with its first set of segments, starting with five categories and expanding from there.

The earliest iteration of the content module will be up and running next week. Starting to sell advertising according to its segments is not far behind. Further along, Sift Media plans to use the Cxense tools to guide entire redesigns of its site experiences.

As the team continues to add technology, those decisions will be made with the goal of improving the experience for the reader and advertiser. “We’re doing a lot of work to make sure we understand the audience, and creating the content & experiences they want,” Robins said. “That’s the journey we’re starting out on with Cxense.”

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