Commentary

Hearst Magazines: The Data-Driven Publisher

Hearst Magazines is open for business on several fronts, Mike Smith, its Chief Data Officer, told Thursday's Publishing Insider Summit in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Those fronts include programmatic direct, direct sales on insertion orders, fixed or variable private auction and on the open exchange without restriction, no floor prices, no blocks.

Open exchange, Smith said, is the "polar opposite of direct sales on insertion orders, offering low CPMs and with buyers in control. "We have a collection of healthy revenue streams." Native advertising and branded content programs are growing; they are a part of nearly every ad sale at Hearst on the digital side.

The company employs trained data scientists. In fact, Smith is back in college to learn data mining and machine learning "so I can work with the folks who know these processes."

"Data has become real. Our data is creating value for our advertisers, and this is very exciting for us." Indeed, Hearst's goal is to be the world's leading data-driven media company by, among other things, using data to support its content creation with analysts and insights, and enhancing its advertising offerings.

Hearst has a staff of branded content editors that focuses on agile programs, branded content. Single campaigns and a data studio are producing weekly templatized reports that come from ad agencies. Editors know which branded content KPIs that Hearst needs to report on. Sigma built a customized system for Hearst and editors are informed on what's working and not.

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