Condé Nast, having cracked open the door to programmatic buying two years ago, has swung it open a little more.
The traditional magazine powerhouse raised some eyebrows a couple years ago when it created a private ad market to sell its online ad inventory. In so doing, Condé Nast believed it could have it both ways: The company could take advantage of advertisers’ growing demand for automated buying while putting a velvet rope around its content to keep out unseemly advertisers (and keep pricing palatable).
Now, it’s decided to go a step further, making premium inventory on individual brands like VanityFair.com and GQ.com available along with the brand-nonspecific “Condé Nast inventory” already available.
Drew Schutte, chief integration officer at Condé Nast, said that while direct sales by human beings would remain the core of Condé Nast’s business, the new, so-called “premium exchange” would let the company take advantage of advertisers’ desire for the flexibility of self-service buying. He sees the premium exchange appealing to the long tail of advertising: smaller marketers, overseas clients or even existing clients who want to do a last-minute buy without having to wait to deal with a real-live person.
But in creating the premium exchange, Condé Nast is also allowing that much more automation to creep into its sales process by bowing to increased demand for self-serve buying. Yet again, the company intends to have its cake and eat it too; Schutte said the newly added inventory would be priced at rate-card rates so there’s no danger of ad-rate degradation. “It’s about allowing them to self-serve,” he said. “We’ve had advertisers say, ‘We’re willing to pay more if you give us transparency.’ We want to make it easier to work with us.”