Money Media: How One Firm Honed The Art Of Repping Ads On Finance Sites

investing-media-solutionsInvesting Media Solutions (IMS), exclusively represents the advertising for 375 long-tail and mid-tail publications that offer financial advice.

As the financial network looks to the future, it’s adding first-party data and more compelling ad formats to maintain stride with its sophisticated financial advertisers.

IMS helps financial advertisers like Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab, and brands like Oracle or Audi reach the 14.7 million unique comScore visitors across its clients’ sites.

Relevant context and quality content remains a strong selling point for IMS sites.

“[Advertisers] are very much focused on the traditional idea that getting someone in the right frame of mind and right context effectively drives campaigns results,” said Jeff Tripp, IMS’ advertising EVP.

About half of IMS-represented sites, which include 24/7 Wall St., Dealbreaker, Minyanville, ValueWalk and MarketBeat, are subscription-based and attract highly coveted individuals to advertisers. One prized segment: financial advisers, who make decisions affecting hundreds of clients’ investments.

These sites find banner advertising and yield optimization complex, which means they partner with IMS to sell that part of their site. “They are very good at stock picking and market timing, but advertising for them is a foreign object,” CEO Josh Morris said.

To increase revenue for these publishers, IMS recently has worked with them to add more native-style placements and optimize their page layout to increase ad viewability. IMS added Moat to measure viewability and engagement.

“The financial space is transforming from being banner ad unit-centric to being more cross-channel and integrated,” Tripp said. “[Advertisers] are talking about native solutions, and more depth of measurement.”

Advertisers also want to know who they are reaching beyond the broad strokes of comScore numbers.

“Reachwise, they will show you we are in the middle of the pack in terms of the top 10 finance content brands. But we think we are toe-to-toe in terms of affluence, influencers and C-level,” Morris said.

In order to drill into the high-end nature of its audience, IMS started collecting data itself. Earlier this year, it conducted a survey it called the “Wealth Management Monitor,” recruiting respondents by using display ads on its site and newsletter emails.

Readers shared their age, investable assets and household income. The survey also asked about which asset classes (mutual funds, annuities or commodities) they preferred to invest in and their predictions about the S&P 500’s performance this year.

Down the line, IMS is looking at other ways to organize its audience data, like investing in a data management platform.

But establishing the value of its audience will enable it to defend the importance of its audience and grow revenue without having to add weaker investing sites to its network. While sites With Facebook and Google dominating the scale game, publishers like IMS are focusing on engaging niche audiences first, and looking at scale second.

“We put quality before scale,” Morris said.

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