Hearst Licenses Ad-Spend Data From Standard Media Index

Hearst Magazines is licensing digital and print ad expenditure from Standard Media Index, the information-services company that provides global media-buying expenditure data for major media and product categories.

SMI last week said Hearst is among the first digital publishers to license SMI data, which is actual spend data pooled from invoices at all major holding companies and leading independent agencies.

Hearst will use the data in vertical spend analysis and competitive intelligence, as well as for price and yield benchmarking and general insights into industry trends, SMI stated.



The announcement, SMI said, is indicative of how digital publishers are utilizing more accurate and sophisticated cost and pricing data sets — much as video has — to better compete in a challenging market. Publishers can employ real-world data for vertical spend analysis, competitive intelligence and benchmarking, SMI said.

“The complexities of the digital-ad market are such that in order to optimize sales and pricing, you need to have an accurate view of the marketplace,” Hearst Magazines Chief Business Officer Kristen O’Hara said about the announcement. “Working with SMI affords us the ability to gain a real-world competitive view so that we can base our decision making on actual data, not estimates.”

As use of such data becomes more prevalent, it will have an impact on how digital publishers price their products.

SMI reports on billing records for placement-level detail of all media transactions in all media types and organizes that data to create a clear, granular and easy-to-use database for our clients and agency partners.

Depending on the market, SMI captures between 70 and 95% of all agency spend, the company said. By aggregating it, SMI offers detailed ad intelligence across all media types, including television, digital, out-of-home, print, and radio. Depending on the market, data can be broken down by unit cost, media owner, ad type, buy type, advertiser product category, and other dimensions.

Clients use the information to determine media mix models, create competitive benchmarks and gain visibility into pricing level data. The data also allow them to understand market trends on a product-category level, evaluate ROI of tentpoles and sporting events, and break out ad formats by media type to highlight the effectiveness of different kinds of placements.

“Hearst Magazines offers advertisers an array of iconic brands to partner with,” SMI President Ben Tatta said. “It is critical they have the ability to realize the true value of the inventory they offer. We are delighted to be working with them to provide data on actual spend and pricing so they have the ability to do so.”

Hearst Magazines’ portfolio of 25 brands includes Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar and reach nearly 150.3 million readers and site visitors each month. 

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