Hearst Magazines Will Target You in Print Based on What You Read Online

The first targeted ad will appear in Elle

Using first party data, Hearst can decipher whether a reader is considering a particular skincare product, then can work with the brand of that product to serve the reader a targeted ad in its magazine.
Elle Magazine

Hearst Magazines is tracking what readers click online and using those behaviors to serve the same magazine subscribers targeted ads in print.

Called MagMatch, the offering is a product from the Hearst Data Studio and will first go live in the most recent issue of Elle magazine. But the ads could also appear in other Hearst brands, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Food Network Magazine and Car & Driver.

Using first party data, Hearst can decipher whether a reader is considering a particular skincare product, then can work with the brand of that product to serve the reader a targeted ad in its magazine. The offering will be available across all brand categories, except pharmaceuticals.

For subscribed readers, that could look like an ad that addresses them by their name, which is the route that skincare company StriVectin took in the latest issue of Elle as the first brand to buy into the ad offering. In the magazine, the ad includes a brief message from Elle and is addressed to the magazine subscriber alongside a picture of StriVectin spokeswoman Lauren Hutton.

“Researching and shopping for skincare is a personal journey. We’re always looking for ways to make 1:1 connections with consumers … Harnessing the power to target and personalize the insert took a great campaign concept to the next level,” said Alison Yeh, chief marketing officer at StriVectin, in a statement.

Under MagMatch, a magazine like Car & Driver could distinguish whether a reader should receive a print ad for a SUV or a sedan, depending on that reader’s behavior online, said Charles Wolrich, head of Hearst Data Studio.

Hearst said it’s using first party data, including the buy buttons on which readers click, to inform the offering. While most subscribers aren’t logged on to the websites of Hearst brands, the company anonymously matches their behavior using third parties, Wolrich said.

With so many advertisers, particularly in the beauty and car categories, Elle publisher Kevin O’Malley said this offering is a way for Hearst Magazines to further stand out from the crowd—especially as the industry demands more than just scale, but data to provide insight about that reach.

“It’s not just about scale. It’s about mining and creating audience segmentation within that,” O’Malley said.