Dotdash, a top destination for millennial women, lacked bridal content.
So the digital publisher, which rebranded from About.com in 2017, purchased Brides magazine from Condé Nast Wednesday for an undisclosed sum.
The 85-year-old magazine will fit well into Dotdash’s verticalized online portfolio, said CEO Neil Vogel. Dotdash’s properties are each devoted to specific categories like finance (Investopedia), beauty (Byrdie), health and wellness (Verywell) and home improvement (The Spruce).
But none have the brand cachet of Brides.
“That’s what we bought it for: the brand and the team that’s coming with it,” Vogel said.
Dotdash will also acquire about 10 employees on Brides’ editorial team, which will continue to be led by Lisa Gooder, executive director of Brides at Condé Nast. Dotdash will discontinue the print magazine this fall and focus on growing Brides’ online presence, which sees 3.6 million monthly users per Comscore.
Bridal content was a missing piece in Dotdash’s lifestyle vertical, Vogel said.
“[Women visit our sites when they] want to redo their apartment, look their best for a job interview or roll over 401K,” Vogel said. “The goal is to serve millennial women in all points of their lives. Brides really adds to that.”
At Condé Nast, Brides competed with other properties and wasn’t given a lot of “sunlight and water,” Vogel said. But Brides complements Dotdash’s other lifestyle brands.
The company will sell Brides’ inventory alongside other verticals programmatically, mostly through PMPs, as well as custom or branded content sponsorships. And the nature of Dotdash’s content gives it strong contextual targeting capabilities.
All of Dotdash’s brands have evergreen content that tells its audience how to get things done, Vogel said. “We know how to package and sell that for advertisers.”
Dotdash doesn’t just make money from ads, approaching $30 million in affiliate revenue last year, Vogel said. He’s unsure how that strategy will fit at Brides just yet.
“We never try to take content that helps people and chuck a bunch of affiliate links in it to make money,” Vogel said. “It will be around very specific content that’s commerce-related.”
While search drives about two-thirds of Dotdash’s traffic, the company doesn’t base its revenue strategy around SEO. “It just doesn’t work,” Vogel said. Instead, Dotdash focuses on providing users with faster load times, fewer ads and better content overall – which search engines naturally favor.
“If you think too much about the mechanics of how search works, you’re going to lose,” Vogel said. “Because you’re going to get into the business of trying to figure out what an algorithm wants versus what a human being wants.”
Dotdash is on an acquisition spree. Brides is the third title it purchased this year, following the January acquisition of Byrdie and MyDomaine from Clique Brands Inc. The company, which is seeing impressive growth at a time when digital publishers are struggling, will continue to look for properties “where evergreen content and intent-driven audiences can congregate,” Vogel said.
“We’re looking for real, established brands in areas that our expertise works,” he said. “We think we have a lot of room to grow.”