The Economist’s journey in programmatic ads
Bilton writes, “The Economist hired its first programmatic specialists in June 2014, and didn’t actively sell through programmatic channels until August. Since then, programmatic selling has become ubiquitous. Not only does it sell inventory through guaranteed direct deals and exchanges, but buys programmatically to extend the reach of the content it creates for brands. Programmatic has also helped it lower the cost of finding new print subscribers.
“‘What’s worked for us is embracing programmatic as a strategy rather than a tactical solution that solves the short-term objective of filling impressions,’ said Economist Group online advertising vp Ashwin Sridhar. ‘We are in this for the long haul.’
“The transition wasn’t without its hurdles. For all of programmatic’s promises of efficiency, publishers still face issues when it comes to implementing and selling on the technology. The Economist, for example, has had deals fall through due to technical issues with campaigns — issues that often worsened when the daisy chain of ad tech vendors involved in deals made it difficult to identify where exactly things went wrong. These situations resulted in The Economist moving the campaigns to its direct deal channels.”
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