Home The Sell Sider Email: The New Home Page

Email: The New Home Page


craigkostelic-updatedThe Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Craig Kostelic, head of revenue at Bon Appétit & Epicurious, The Food Innovation Group.

Publishers have historically treated their home pages as their waterfront property, with a finite amount of space and availability that creates a trickle-down effect of high demand and premium pricing.

This dates back to the Internet’s early days when users typically navigated to websites through direct bookmarks, portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo or by manually typing the website into their browser. For advertisers, buying a home page takeover was a must-have awareness play in which they could go back to their client at any point during the takeover date and point them to the front page to see their sponsorship ads live.

Even though the behavior by which audiences experience and engage with a publisher’s content have greatly changed, the demand and value proposition of a home page have remained, resulting in inefficiencies from a value and reach standpoint for advertisers.

But there are other ways to cut through the clutter at scale, while driving awareness with the most loyal users of an editorial property on their most personal device. Publishers have the ability to seamlessly deliver their message to users in an environment in which the recipient has made a conscious decision to opt in and receive communication.

Additionally, the opportunity to gain insight into what triggers response through real-time behavioral data can be a significant driver of editorial strategy and branded content best practices.

The path to attention starts with one of the most tried and true digital marketing tactics available to us: email.

Louder Isn’t Better

In a world with more distractions than ever before, attention is a finite resource that is the most valuable asset being offered to advertisers by media companies.

Those on the media side spend countless hours thinking about how to win RFPs by being the best at capturing this attention via first-to-market, “never been done before” ideas that will surely break though the noise. The logic is that in order to be heard in a loud environment, we must be louder.


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In many cases, this mindset suffers from the law of diminishing returns as highly complex, difficult-to-execute programs translate into minor blips on the radar that do little to change perception or drive awareness.

Instead, we should think about the root cause of our distraction.

Become The Distraction

There are smarter ways to communicate with the people we want to reach, based on what we know about their habits. 

We are all creatures of habit. Think about your own daily routine: What is the first thing you do when you get up? What do you do when you are disengaged in a meeting midday or during a commercial break while watching TV at night?

The answer to those questions is the same answer for how to break through the clutter: email

An e-newsletter media strategy isn’t sexy and it isn’t “first to market.” But the best way to capture attention is to position yourself where the distraction is naturally. And a constant distraction commonly originates in the mobile inbox of your desired consumer.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

The type of data that can be gleaned from newsletters includes the open rate, which provides correlation into the time and day when a user is most responsive to messaging.

You can also gather information on the location of the response, which can lead to a better understanding of where users fixate their attention and if that / what triggered an action.

A greater understanding of the “when and where” is the catalyst for custom audience segmentation. This segmentation allows media companies and marketers to communicate with consumers in smarter ways through personalization. In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, crafting unique messaging to your audience is a fundamental requirement to breaking through the noise.

Newsletters give marketers the ability to turn their greatest opposition in the fight for attention into their strongest ally by owning the distraction.

Be smarter, not louder.

Follow Craig Kostelic (@CKostelic) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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