Flipboard Will Soon Begin Selling Programmatic Mobile Ads

Rubicon Project will provide the inventory

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Flipboard is turning a new page and will begin selling programmatic display and native ads.

The mobile app known for offering users a sampling of stories from around the web will offer ads through a private marketplace enabled by Rubicon Project beginning next month. Brands will also be able to utilize Flipboard's targeting capabilities that allows it to reach users based on their reading interests and demographics.

According to Nicole McCormack, Flipboard's head of sales strategy, the move will expand capabilities beyond direct sales to allow the more than 10,000 advertisers who have access to the Rubicon Project marketplace to reach the app's 90 million monthly users. Top advertisers already on Flipboard include Intel, Toyota, Lexus and Bank of America.

"One of the things we bring to the programmatic space in a mobile environment is a really high quality audience and a premium one," McCormack said.

Through Rubicon Project's exchange API, advertisers will be able to utilize the exchange that was built specifically for mobile. According to Joe Prusz, head of mobile for Rubicon Project, the exchange API allows Flipboard to be flexible with how it prioritizes deals.

Flipboard already generates more than 300 million impressions in the U.S. each month, which makes up around 25 percent of the company's overall global impressions. Along with opening up inventory for a broader network of advertisers, part of the move to programmatic is to offer existing advertisers buying in a more automated way.

"The curation of both audiences and inventory is an ad tech marriage made in heaven between their audience and our ability to sell it programmatically to high quality advertisers," Prusz said.

Flipboard, which began allowing advertising in 2010, already has hundreds of advertisers on the platform in industries such as automotive, financial services, tech and fashion. Programmatic video ads are also in the works. McCormack said she is pushing to have those introduced by the end of the year. (The company began offering vertical video ads earlier this month.)

"The growth, the explosion in mobile video and programmatic video buying is not unnoticed by us," she said.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.