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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Edmunds Signals Advertising Shift With Programmatic

February 19, 2015 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN@michellemanafy
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Edmunds.com had an enviable problem: A wide range of brands wanted to advertise on the site but were being crowded out by big-pocketed automakers who love to spend on their highly-contextual pages. It’s no surprise that car makers wanted access to the Edmunds audience; according to Datalogix, 59% of U.S. car shoppers use Edmunds.com, and more than half of visits to its website result in a purchase. To increase opportunities for non-endemic brands to reach its desirable audience, Edmunds began to experiment with programmatic last year via private exchanges. And 2015 has brought a partnership with Krux – a data management platform (DMP) – to help them deliver across all digital screens and sources  and continue to expand Edmunds’ advertising and content capabilities.

According to CEO Avi Steinlauf “Edmunds has embraced audience-based marketing by redefining our entire premium ad product offering.” This includes everything from page-based placements to audience-based placements for all of the company’s directly-sold, guaranteed onsite ad inventory. A key aspect of its new offering is the ability to reach the Edmunds audience offsite on other websites.

To establish this “audience-based advertising platform,” Edmunds.com turned to Krux to enable real-time tracking and audience segmentation of its audience. Krux also provides a platform to safeguard against the unauthorized use of audience data including strict adherence to industry standard consumer privacy policies.

Consumer protection is an essential component of this initiative. As Krux CEO Tom Chavez put it, “Like any publisher with valuable people data, Edmunds doesn’t want their data cast into the winds or transacted in dark rooms by frenemies who take liberties.” As such, Krux focuses on providing fine-grained controls that allow Edmunds to provision its data only to named players on times, terms, and conditions of their choosing. According to Chavez, “This requires an end-to-end approach that first detects and monitors if and where their data is leaking, and second enables them to point and send it to trusted partners in a friction-free, policy-managed fashion.”

The shift in its ad strategy is in response to what Steinlauf describes as “the ad industry’s increasing need to reach relevant audiences and provide more effective, tighter messaging to consumers.” This is achieved by offering marketers who directly buy ad inventory on Edmunds, a license to retarget those same audiences by activating them for retargeting on their programmatic buying platforms (DSPs).

As a second-party data provider for automotive OEM clients, Edmunds is able to work more collaboratively with these OEMs as well as with agencies to develop new types of ad campaigns or to increase the ROI of current ones. And, for dealership clients, Steinlauf says using these audience segments overlaid with geo-targeting data “provides an exciting opportunity to serve as a key component in their cross-channel digital marketing efforts.”

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