Condé Nast’s Answer to Programmatic Buying

Segmenting product taps vast subscriber database

Condé Nast has introduced a new digital marketing product, one of its first since the company overhauled its corporate sales group last summer to tap into potential growth in online advertising. 

The new product, called Condé Nast Catalyst: Audience by Design, is an attempt to match the company’s audiences with brand advertisers to reach consumer types like high-spending moms and highly social singles who aren’t expressly targeted by Condé Nast’s 27 sites.

While audience segmentation by publishers isn’t new, Condé Nast says its segments are distinctive in their level of sophistication. Working with Adobe Audience Manager, the publisher plans to extract consumer behavior insights from its network of 450,000 "preferred subscribers" to better analyze its base of 55 million subscribers of titles like Vogue and GQ.

The magazine giant, knowing advertisers may want to reach more such consumers around the Web, will also extend its reach by letting advertisers target users of non-Condé sites found through Google Ad Exchange. 

“We’ve been sitting on a treasure trove of user data,” said Lou Cona, chief marketing officer for Condé Nast. “We’re taking data from the legacy business and leveraging it online. This is satisfying an advertiser need that we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Until recently, Condé Nast had neither enough scale online nor the tools to do the deep analysis of its audience. That’s changed, as have advertisers’ growing interest in big data. At the same time, publishers are facing downward pricing pressure on online advertising from programmatic buying systems. Thus, Condé Nast sees its Catalyst program as addressing the limits of such systems by giving advertisers control over the audiences and environment. “It helps them find audiences that are safe,” said Josh Stinchcomb, vp of corporate partnerships.

American Express, AT&T and Nieman Marcus are among the program’s first clients. Lou Paskalis, vp of global media, content development and mobile marketing for AmEx, said he was attracted to Catalyst’s ability to find specific types of consumers across all Condé Nast’s properties.

“It allows us to work horizontally across their brands as opposed to just by content and context,” Paskalis said. "Any time we as an industry can serve more relevant advertisements, it's good for the consumer, the publishing community and the advertiser."