Why Condé Nast’s programmatic strategy was not suited to the AOP-led private marketplace
Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, has revealed it opted out of an Association of Publishers (AOP)-led private marketplace, believing that its unique content is best suited to selling inventory programmatically in a “bespoke, controlled” manner.
Speaking at The Drum’s Media Slap event in London today, Malcolm Attwells, programmatic sales director at Condé Nast Digital, urged caution to the rising number of publisher alliances.
The AOP has worked with some of its members to pool inventory to form a marketplace capable of reaching more than 54 million unique visitors, a move it hopes will convince advertisers to spend brand-building budgets programmatically.
“We decided not to take part in that. We see our content as unique,” explained Attwells.
“We are not huge. We don’t have millions of impressions every month to sell so we’re quite happy to continue in a bespoke controlled manner.”
The publisher has been cautious in its approach to selling inventory programmatically, despite being a relatively early adopter when it launched its first private exchange in 2014.
“It was driven by a premium advertiser, a luxury brand, which came to us and said we’re shifting money into this space and we want to work with you in this area,” he said.
It has continued to work in this manner. Its inventory is not on an open exchange, it has a list of advertisers it will and will not work with, and internally its direct sales team works directly with the programmatic team.
“60 per cent of the clients running programmatic campaigns with us are new clients – so it’s creating new business for us. But the [campaigns] sit within our very strict guidelines in terms of creative and the kind of advertising we want within the site and content that’s there,” he said.
Over the next year, Condé Nast is looking to bring its various first-party data segments together. This will see it establish its own data management platform (DMP).
“We play mainly in private marketplace, that’s where we see most of our growth.
“The bigger project for us is the offline and print data and putting it together, that’s the Holy Grail for us. Data is the key driver for value in impressions for programmatic space.”
Condé Nast isn't the only publisher to have concerns with pooling its inventory into a joint private marketplace. The Drum understands that at least one other publisher opted against joining the AOP's private inventory pool due to concerns over how it would impact its yield and the lack of control it would give them over ad rates.