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Published January 2016

By Joe Alicata, Vice President of Revenue Product and Operations, Vox Media

These days, a growing number of brands rely on programmatic technology to buy digital advertising. But some people still associate programmatic, which uses data and targeting to automate and optimize transactions, with low prices, direct response, and remnant inventory. That hasn’t been our experience here at Vox Media. Yes, we’ve increased operational efficiency by selling our inventory programmatically, but we’ve also created better experiences for advertisers and added new premium opportunities to our offering.

The way we stay ahead is by constantly experimenting and pushing technology to work for us. That’s why we started testing out a new way for advertisers to reserve our premium inventory through DoubleClick: Programmatic Guaranteed.

Joe Alicata, Vice President of Revenue Product and Operations, Vox Media

Vox Media lives and breathes product, design, and technology. Our proprietary publishing platform, Chorus, empowers our journalists to develop high-quality content seamlessly and intuitively. That ethos also drives our advertising division, where we use programmatic platforms to create premium content and audience packages for clients while making our advertising more efficient and effective.

For us, programmatic is not an add-on product or a separate business group. It’s a key part of the sales process. Everyone on our team understands how programmatic fits into our product offering, and programmatic is built into every campaign. We run a private marketplace that gives us all the benefits of programmatic – like enhanced targeting, actionable data and greater operational efficiency – and operate it within our direct sales framework. This is how we’ve created a truly premium programmatic offering for advertisers, which helps us access new clients while allowing existing advertisers to buy inventory the way they want.     

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve really seen programmatic buying evolve in recent years. It gives publishers like us the flexibility to connect advertisers with their ideal audiences. But in our experience, it’s not enough to simply embrace programmatic. The way we stay ahead is by constantly experimenting and pushing technology to work for us. That’s why we started testing out a new way for advertisers to reserve our premium inventory through DoubleClick: Programmatic Guaranteed. Just like in traditional direct sales, we can lock in revenue by selling a guaranteed number of impressions at pre-negotiated rates. I’d say the big wins are that it’s simple and effective, and it’s ideally suited to the direct sales environment because clients really understand it. We’ve seen great success so far, and have run over a dozen campaigns with a variety of advertisers.

Programmatic Guaranteed is yet another example of how our team at Vox embraces technology to streamline and scale the way we do business. As a result, we can focus on building relationships, better understanding our advertisers’ goals and innovate across today’s changing landscape to create new opportunities. It's all about how we, as a premium publisher, can deliver effective solutions to our audience and to advertisers. So for us, at least, the benefits of programmatic go far beyond time savings and lower costs. And they’re squarely in line with our mission to redefine the modern media company through technology.

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Vox Media is redefining the modern media company by empowering the smartest digital voices with the technology to create and distribute premium content, connecting with 170 million affluent and educated young adults worldwide.

Vox Media is eight distinct brands: Vox.com, The Verge, SB Nation, Polygon, Eater, Racked, Curbed and Re/code. Vox Media’s investors include Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, Khosla Ventures, General Atlantic and NBCUniversal. www.voxmedia.com

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