Condé Nast Sees Value in Google’s Programmatic Guaranteed Program

The publisher sees benefits of the self-serve model

Logo on sign at regional office of Conde Nast publications in downtown Los Angeles, California
Condé Nast and Google released a joint case study based on their programmatic results. Getty Images
Headshot of Sara Jerde

Key insights:

Publishers can find value in programmatic advertising, even when the inventory is next to content that normally attracts luxury dollars, Google and Condé Nast attest in a joint case study released today, disclosing details about their programmatic guaranteed partnership.

“When you think about Condé and the fact that they have what they consider premium inventory class, you might think that this would be the last publisher that would actually come in because of the type of inventory that they represent,” said Bonita Stewart, vp of global partnerships at Google. “But they actually reversed the model in terms of understanding how they could utilize this particular deal type to offer more value to the advertisers and to the agencies.”

The 125-year-old media company has seen a 41% increase in its order volume over the past two years and a 93% boost to revenue because of its participation, according to the study, which did not disclose exact figures.

Publishers that use Google Ad Manager as their ad servers are opened up to automated inventory reservations under the program. Overall, publishers that used the programmatic guaranteed program saw notable amounts of growth in terms of video revenue. Specifically, that category represented 35% of total programmatic guaranteed revenue.

“If you think about applying automation to this particular category of media, it gives the advertiser a better return,” Stewart added. “And, most importantly, it allows the publisher to expand their business to those advertisers that are programmatic first, as well as to capture new advertisers that are programmatic native.”

Google invested more heavily in programmatic, particularly after acquiring a number of ad tech companies including ad management service DoubleClick. More recently, its tension with publishers has come to a head after Google announced last week that it would phase out support for its third-party cookies by 2022.

To accommodate the programmatic guaranteed program at Condé Nast, leadership had to train sales and operations teams on mechanics.

The publisher said it’s seeing the benefits in moving to a self-service model.

“Google’s been able to really work closely with us to help accelerate from a display and from a video standpoint, that self-serve model that we describe as being programmatic guaranteed,” said Craig Kostelic, chief business officer for U.S. advertising revenue and head of global video sales at Condé Nast.

The programmatic guaranteed program makes Condé Nast’s digital ad offerings accessible, including Prime Time, video inventory that includes more than 300 hours of content across new channels like its OTT programing, as well as Prime Web, custom units combining its video and commerce capabilities and data points (via its data platform, called Spire) across Condé’s portfolio.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.