Hearst announced today that it’s launching its own private ad exchange. The Hearst platform comes about seven months after Condé Nast debuted its own ad exchange, but this one highlights audience data services to help advertisers create targeted campaigns, in addition to broader branding efforts across Hearst’s portfolio of more than 25 digital brands.
"We wanted to find a way to increase the value of our audience segments," says Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer of Hearst Digital Media. "Also, our advertisers talk to us about how they value our brands and audience and we have to recognize they have a greater need for efficient and effective buying platforms."
Called "Audience Exchange," the service uses the Red Aril platform that Hearst bought via its digital marketing agency iCrossing in late 2011. Red Aril is now called Core Audience, but the audience data management concept is the same. The exchange doesn’t just rely on data management and collection from Core Audience, it also pulls in data from other providers.
And while Condé Nast went with Google-owned AdMeld for its exchange, Hearst partnered with competitor PubMatic, which just got a $45 million shot in the arm two weeks ago with a mezzanine round of capital.
In all, Audience Exchange takes care of two distinct needs: It handles remnant inventory or broader branding campaigns and it also taps the Core Audience DMP to cater to campaigns that rely on specific audience characteristics and segments. As an example, Welker says they worked with the women’s brands to identify five food-related categories that are essentially packaged audience segments that can be marketed to. The same concept can be duplicated across other markets, such as automotive, she says.