B2B Publisher SourceMedia Takes A Targeted Approach To Branded Content

SourceMedia, the Observer Capital–owned publisher of financial trades like American Banker and The Bond Buyer, along with other B2B sites, is taking a page from the B2C playbook.

While B2B pubs have been slower to embrace programmatic, SourceMedia plans to buck that trend by being a better steward of its first-party data.

A new integration between Lytics, its customer data platform, and Polar allows SourceMedia to use its first-party data to dynamically target native ads and improve their relevancy.

“We’re not looking to serve just any piece of content,” said Matthew Yorke, CMO and head of revenue and product for SourceMedia. “B2B sales cycles are complex, can extend up to 18–24 months and can include multiple stakeholders. Nobody wakes up and says, ‘I think I’ll spend $10 million on server virtualization today.”

SourceMedia is also creating a full-funnel approach to support its branded content offering.

Topic tiles, which are custom rich-media units that align with topic-specific editorial, form the top of the funnel. Content Fuse, a mid-funnel offering, is branded content that SourceMedia creates on behalf of clients and then targets using its first-party data.

“We’re then serving that dynamically, impression by impression, through our Polar integration into Lytics,” Yorke said.

Polar’s algorithm would determine, for instance, if a user engaged more with content when an image preceded a headline or which form factor or device earned the most engagement.

SourceMedia’s Partner Insights product is designed to drive an outcome or action in a marketer’s final evaluation stage and consists of content supplied by the brand.

Although SourceMedia typically charged advertisers on a CPM basis for native placements appearing run of site, it’s starting to charge on a guaranteed cost-per-view (CPV) as it ramps up its branded content output.

A shift toward pricing on engagement metrics should help SourceMedia provide more transparency into campaign performance for advertisers who are investing large sums of money with the publisher, Yorke said.

“We’re working toward a guaranteed CPV, which is much more of a B2C model,” he added. “The stakes are so much higher in B2B when business decisions in the tens of millions of dollars are made off the back of that marketing message.”

SourceMedia is also getting more data-driven and real time when identifying in-market buyers for B2B advertisers.

For instance, it’s starting to combine insights from different databases like CRM, email and its CDP to determine if someone’s a subscriber, if they’ve attended a webinar, whether they’ve registered to attend an event and what kind of content they’re reading.

In addition to understanding first-party audience behavior, SourceMedia wants to get better at gauging those behaviors off-site, a common practice among B2C advertisers.

“We may have six of Ford Motor Co.’s decision-makers, for example, subscribing to our sites, but there could be 14 or more product decision-makers who don’t,” Yorke said. “If they’re in our database, maybe we reach them with email, but if we don’t know who they are, then maybe we do a cookie match across the web to bring them in.”

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