The New York Daily News Boosts Clients’ Campaign Performance With DMP-Inspired Ad Product

daily-news-adliftLast year, the New York Daily News created a new advertising product to give clients a simple way to tap into the benefits of its data management platform (DMP).

When clients opt in to the product, dubbed AdLift, the Daily News uses insights from the DMP to target and optimize their campaigns.

Six months after AdLift’s debut, direct-sold revenue rose 15% compared to the year before, and clients keep coming back for new campaigns.

“AdLift helped us retain those clients who maybe took a chance with us early on,” said Grant Whitmore, EVP of digital at the Daily News. “And using the case studies that came out of those campaigns has helped us secure new business in a similar or adjacent vertical.”

For the Daily News, adding these optimization capabilities supports its push into national advertising. The publisher used to sell ads only to local advertisers, but as its audience profile looked increasingly national, it expanded to advertisers that wanted to reach beyond the New York audience.

Those advertisers often work with larger publishers or platforms that support more sophisticated campaign optimization.

“This took us out of the slot we had been in – a traditional media organization with a lot of audience around them selling banners – to a being a high-performance buy,” Whitmore said. “That was a nice direction to move in.”

The news publisher started using its DMP, Lotame, at the end of 2014. It first used the DMP to offer new line items for audiences in its responses to RFPs. But that approach didn’t work. Sales couldn’t find a way to communicate the value to clients.

“From an advertiser sophistication standpoint, it was going over their heads,” Whitmore said.

In 2016, it revamped its approach. The Daily News combined its DMP’s capabilities around improving campaign performance into a solution it could sell to advertisers: AdLift. When clients opted in – for no additional CPM cost – they would receive custom targeting from the outset, followed by optimizations focused on improving the campaign results that mattered to them.

“We set up a campaign using initial audience targeting based on what we believe will work for an advertiser’s goals,” Whitmore described. “Then we monitor the campaign and will ask if they are OK tuning the campaign based on the variables we see working better.”

Sometimes those audience segments can be counterintuitive – like a family sports restaurant that showed the highest performance around political content.

“It may not have been something they would have chosen to do, but we had high confidence it would perform,” Whitmore said.

Because of “edge cases” like this, the Daily News communicates openly about what kind of adjustments it makes. “We think it’s important that it doesn’t exist in a black box,” Whitmore said. Clients always have a choice to accept or reject recommendations.

The Daily News also focuses on optimizations that come from its own user data, instead of third-party data – though both can be used.

“We have a high degree of confidence in our own data, and our own data is what we use the most,” Whitmore said.

The ad operations team can look at what types of content drive the most performance, and what type of reading behaviors might align with an advertiser’s audience. It can also optimize campaigns to put ads in front of people who often click on them to see if that drives further performance.

AdLift does have limitations. The campaign must be big enough and last long enough to provide enough data to create an optimization recommendation. That’s actually helped the Daily News increase campaign size.

“We are able to get higher IO values and longer flight dates” because clients want to use the AdLift product, Whitmore said.

 

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