Hearst Magazines Digital Media has continued expanding its programmatic focus by hiring former New York Times ad ops director Heather Keltz to fill its newly created position of VP for ad operations.
Keltz reports to Mike Smith, the erstwhile Forbes chief digital officer who joined Hearst Magazines Digital as VP of revenue platforms and operations this past summer. She'll also work closely with her former NYT colleague, Todd Haskell, who jumped to Hearst Magazines Digital as CRO this past fall.
"There's so much momentum from the team they built over the past year," said Keltz, who before her 13-year tenure at NYT managed ad ops for Bloomberg and served as Web traffic coordinator at Playboy Enterprises. "It's interesting for me to go to another iconic media company to help expand their digital offerings. The main reason I'm here to build a tighter bond between ad ops, custom projects, ad product development and programmatic. If I do that well, every area will benefit."
As part of her role running ad ops, Keltz will oversee the creation of new advertising products and programmatic ad sales, with management of the company's private exchange in particular.
Hearst Magazines Digital includes 24 sites, including the online and app faces of Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Elle, among others, along with digital-only properties like Delish.com.
Citing December stats from Adobe Site Catalyst, Hearst claims its digital audience generated 76 million uniques and nearly 750 million pageviews, with 63% coming from desktops, 27% from mobile phones and 9% from tablets. Keltz and Smith are charged with tying all those screens together for advertisers as a way of complementing Hearst Magazines' direct sales.
"Our mission is to support the direct-sales team, especially through the private exchange," Smith said. "That's increasingly in demand. Our job is not just to create an optimal auction system, but to serve as sales engineers and help our clients win privileged access to our media alongside our traditional insertion order business."
The other main priority at the moment is finding ways to meet the demand for native ads, while promising the scale that brand advertisers expect.
"I've been thinking about how custom ads and programmatic ad ops can weave in together for a while," Keltz said. "Right now, there are questions about how do you support each area and how separate do they remain? That's going to be a big focus for me early on."