Want to tap News Corp.’s first-party data to target ads across all of its properties?
As of Tuesday, you can, thanks to the release of News IQ, which is a managed service (for now) ad platform owned and operated by News Corp.
News IQ unifies inventory from publications as varied as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Realtor.com, MarketWatch, the New York Post and HarperCollins Publishers.
News IQ gives advertisers an opportunity to reach an audience of 140 million while providing a scaled, publisher-owned alternative to the duopoly’s growing hold on digital ad spend.
News IQ, to which the Rupert Murdoch-backed media company first referenced in April 2017, has undergone beta tests with several advertisers, agencies and other publishers, including Dentsu Aegis Network, Douglas Elliman, Seabourn Cruise Line and Fox Broadcasting.
News Corp. built News IQ with brand safety in mind.
“We as a company have been very vocal about issues in the digital ecosystem, whether that’s fake news or click-bot fraud, or issues in the supply chain,” said Jesse Angelo, publisher and CEO of the New York Post, who has assumed an additional title as News Corp.’s chief of digital advertising solutions.
News IQ incorporates three layers of brand safety, according to Angelo. First, News IQ is based on News Corp.’s owned-and-operated content, so it controls all the tagging.
Second, if an advertiser wants to add additional guardrails around its buy, News IQ can filter and whitelist or blacklist content. News IQ accepts tags from most major third-party verification vendors.
“We have been very vocal about the problems of some other big players grading their own homework, so we’re happy to let others grade ours,” Angelo added.
Dentsu’s programmatic unit Amnet is using the solution, which all Accordant Media clients will have access to. Art Muldoon, co-CEO of Amnet US, said NewsIQ is particularly compelling in light of growing demand to clean up the digital advertising supply chain.
“The closer connections that we facilitate between buyers and sellers improves brand safety, limits the risk of fraud and increases spend effectiveness for our clients,” he noted. "In addition, the access to first-party data at such scale with guaranteed safety is an important differentiator for News IQ.”
Although News Corp. publishers have offered programmatic access to inventory in the past, News IQ marks the first time it’s availing first-party data across the board and allowing advertisers to cross-pollinate insights across its sites.
These capabilities should enable more granular targeting and allow advertisers to take advantage of the strengths of News Corp.'s stable of publishers.
For instance, an advertiser might want to activate life stage data from Realtor.com, and then activate segments of people who have moved or who are close to moving across the Post or MarketWatch.
“Another benefit is tracking that over time,” Angelo said. “Because these are all owned-and-operated platforms, we have a News ID which serves as a single repository of all that data including CRM data advertisers can action off of and build bespoke segments from.”
Advertisers can also use News IQ's audience data in conjunction with other News Corp tech platforms, such as its social intelligence tool Storyful, to help inform custom content or to ensure proper alignment with editorial content.
News IQ’s stack has been under construction for almost two years, Angelo said. It’s also not News Corp.’s first stab at building a digital ad platform. Its earliest programmatic products ran on Rubicon Project, but it ended that relationship last February. News IQ was also modeled after News Corp. Australia's audience platform News Connect.
News Corp. is now using AppNexus’ technology (in which it invested $10 million in September 2016) as the execution backbone for News IQ and Salesforce DMP for data activation.
Each News Corp. business unit now leverages AppNexus’ open-source header bidding wrapper prebid.js, and News IQ has a seat within prebid.js that ensures access to a broad pool of inventory to target against.
News Corp. uses the Salesforce DMP to activate and package its first-party data for advertisers, or its segments can be used for targeting within AppNexus.
News IQ will staff a small, centralized team with both sales and operations support, but Angelo said its audience product will not be sold in a silo.
“We’re not setting up a corporate sales team to go compete with our business unit sales teams,” he said. “It is very much a tool to be leveraged by our business unit sales teams to help capture incremental budgets.”