The Beginning of Programmatic Buying in Print Media

timeinc08182010I have been talking about this for a while now and I’m frankly surprised that it has taken us this long to come up with a solution. That said, it is better late than never – Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the US and owner of People, Time, Sports Illustrated and InStyle magazines, is letting marketers buy print ads programmatically.

I think programmatic is an optimal way to fill inventory, especially if you break up your audience by age. This way, your 65-year-old mom’s issue of Time magazine might have different ads than the one your 35-year-old sister receives. Using programmatic, will also allow publishers to guarantee the editorial context of where the ad will appear in print. An advertiser can define which content topics they want their ads to appear with, and the ads will display alongside the editorial content of that topic.

There is also another benefit to doing this – automated marketplaces eliminate the human salesperson, so publishers can focus on the content side of things.

Cost of Print Advertising To Go Down?

Historically, publishers have argued that moving to programmatic will devalue their inventory and bring down advertising costs. This may not be a bad thing! The upside of this is better optimisation of existing inventory – aided by better customer and content targeting.

Also, while there is no doubt the cost of advertising will decrease, the increased accessibility to inventory will increase the overall volume of ads. The same is being evidenced by Google where on their recent Q4 2014 earning call they revealed that CPC decreased 3 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of consumer clicks on its ads increased 14 percent. Their revenue grew by 15% in the same period.


Custom Integration

There is another school of thought the predicts that using programmatic buying will kill creativity in Print ads and will reduce it to slots beside and inside editorial content for. This line of thinking does not hold water as well. Everyone from MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook and YouTube do Custom integrations on their websites. They have a dedicated sales team that manage these. There is absolutely no reason why this cannot be replicated in the Print industry.

One comment

  1. will be interesting to see how many print publishers make the move this year. Overall, spot on post!

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