Programmatic Guaranteed helps power Condé Nast's premium ads business
Case Study

Programmatic Guaranteed helps power Condé Nast's premium ads business

With its portfolio of iconic titles like Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, Bon Appetit, and The New Yorker, Condé Nast operates some of the most coveted destinations for advertisers.

Since the earliest days of the web, direct deals have been a core component of Condé Nast's digital business. But recently, the 125-year-old company has been selling more and more of its premium inventory via Programmatic Guaranteed, and has been seeing impressive results.

Over the last two years, the company's Programmatic Guaranteed order volume has increased 41 percent and revenue has grown 93 percent, outpacing marketplace norms, says Rachael Savage, Head of Ad Operations & Monetization Strategy.

"We’ve seen the highest growth from video and high-impact digital opportunities such as custom display media and takeovers," she adds. "And more than half of our Programmatic Guaranteed campaigns in 2019 have activated across three or more media tactics simultaneously, such as video, display, and takeovers."

Guaranteed placement, programmatic precision

Programmatic Guaranteed combines the best of the direct deal buying experience with the automation and personalization of programmatic decision-making. By adopting Programmatic Guaranteed, programmatic buyers can guarantee access to Condé's premium content, even on the most coveted ad placements during periods of peak direct advertiser demand, such as the holiday shopping season.

Programmatic Guaranteed also allows advertisers to access the company's full suite of digital ad formats, including reservation-based opportunities like takeovers and sponsorships. This includes Prime Time, Condé’s video offering that includes over 300 hours of content across all video platforms, including YouTube and OTT channels with TV-like performance and measurement.

It also includes access to Prime Web, a suite of custom video- and commerce-enabled ad units created by Condé's content studios and distributed across the entire Condé Nast portfolio. Prime Web can offer advertisers guaranteed business results in key performance metrics, such as increased retail foot traffic or boosts in sales revenues.

Bringing audience data to the party with Spire

Prime Web relies on Spire, Condé's customer data platform, which is available to all Programmatic Guaranteed customers. Spire centralizes trusted first-party behavioral data from the company's premium properties and more than 800 million global viewers and readers, allowing advertisers to reach high-value audiences with relevant messages during critical moments.

Condé explains that Spire is able to deliver more personalized content and experiences to users by analyzing audience signals to understand their interests and preferences. This allows the company to optimize the consumer experience, delivering the kinds of content and ads its customers care about. And Condé is seeing strong performance lift when Spire data is part of the campaign. For example, completion rates for video ads using Spire data are significantly higher than those for ads without – up to 20 percent greater for videos of 30 seconds or more.

“Spire allows clients to match the right audiences to their messaging. It offers Condé Nast's advertisers a deeper understanding of their audiences and a holistic view of the customer journey, allowing them to make real connections with hard-to-reach customers in trusted environments at scale.

Karthic Bala, Chief Data Officer, Condé Nast

This reliance on strong first-party user relationships, data-driven decision making and continuous experimentation makes Condé Nast a leader on Deloitte's data maturity scale for media organizations.



Positioning the organization for success

The transition to Programmatic Guaranteed didn't happen overnight. Condé had to train its sales and operations teams, increase staff, and educate some clients on the benefits of Programmatic Guaranteed. But that investment has more than paid for itself by streamlining the ad booking process for both Condé and its ad buyers.

Adopting Programmatic Guaranteed has allowed the company to support its programmatic-first advertisers as well as strengthen its relationships with longtime clients as they evolve their own digital strategies, notes Savage. It's also enabled Condé to attract new advertisers that may be less familiar with non-programmatic buying methods.

With premium video content booming across all of Condé's iconic properties, Programmatic Guaranteed is becoming increasingly important for advertisers who want to secure space before it's sold out.

"Programmatic Guaranteed is a necessary buying method for our partners to ensure they can access our coveted video content."

Rachael Savage, Head of Ad Operations & Monetization Strategy, Condé Nast

"With an ever-growing roster of original video series and content — such as Vogue's 73 Questions, Bon Appétit's Gourmet Makes, and Wired's Autocomplete Interview — our video business has seen unprecedented market demand in 2019," says Savage. "This has made biddable supply unpredictable during periods of high sellout. Programmatic Guaranteed is a necessary buying method for our partners to ensure they can access our coveted video content."



  1. Photo credit: Alex Lau

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