Forbes is launching an ad platform that combines the Forbes Media Network with a new audience segmentation effort called FAST and offers custom units that blend advertising with content according to user preferences.
Dubbed FMX, for Forbes Media Extension, the platform encompasses the entire Forbes network of branded and non-branded sites. Sites in the network include RealClearPolitics.com, RealClearSports.com, ForbesWoman.com and the Forbes’ network of business and finance blogs.
FMX will also offer partner sites such as Yahoo and AOL along with smaller, vetted niche sites, says Forbes Media chief revenue officer Kevin Gentzel. "[FMX] will include the sites within the former Forbes financial blog network, but that has now expanded to include a network of other contextually relevant and clean and well-lit sites for us to find our audiences on. We want the ability to extend our contextual relevance to sites that aren’t just in the business and finance arena. You’ll find sites within the lifestyle arena, the automotive sector, and so on. But all have been vetted us and we include big sites like AOL and Yahoo and then other more niche content sites as well."
Anchoring the program is a segmentation project called FAST, which marries Forbes audience data with third party information to create customer categories for advertisers to target. The general idea here is to create a branded audience data set that can be packaged and sold into matching content verticals. The first six to launch with FMX are business and finance, small business, technology professionals, in-market users, wealth and personal finance, and wealth and lifestyle.Ultimately, the program will offer 24 audience categories.
"We think there is an opportunity to apply the strength of brand and content to third-party data and audience segmenation," says Gentzel. "We think that branded data actually has an exponential power to a marketer versus just a technology provided third-party data. We have been developing proprietary data around our audience so that we understand the different types of audience segments that come to us and then we are able to re-market to them in this Forbes media network units that not only have an advertising message in them, but also content that is directly relevant to that audience segment of ours."
FAST data incudes different types of demographic and professional audience information, says Gentzel.
The third leg of the platform is what the company calls Forbes Media Voice Creative Units, reminiscent—in name at least—of the brand’s AdVoice program which allows brand marketers to blog and post content alongside editorial contributors. The FMVs are essentially co-branded custom units that combine a marketing message with related content and a user’s preferences. "The Media Voice unit is one way that we are creatively evolving our ability to take Forbes editorial content anywhere into the Forbes Media Network," explains Gentzel. "For example, if it’s a financial advisor audience segment, there will be a unit that contains actual Forbes content that we develop within the financial advisor network in this case, the Forbes brand, along with a marketing partner’s message there too."
These units will not be made available on Forbes.com, but will be rolled out across the non-Forbes branded properties.
The print and digital brands have been going through extensive redesigns since last summer, starting with the magazine and now moving through the digital properties, spearheaded by chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin, who came on board when Forbes acquired his freelance news site True/Slant.
Forbes.com recently had its wrist slapped by Google for selling links—a practice, says D’Vorkin in a blog post, the company abandoned when the site began its redesign. The Google notification apparently picked up on some legacy pages that were yet to be removed.