Business Insider unifies programmatic ad buying across all European editions

Business Insider is allowing advertisers to buy its inventory programmatically across all its European editions.

The Axel Springer-owned publisher has expanded aggressively in Europe over the last few years, with its biggest presence in the U.K. Like many big U.S. publishers, it has expanded into Europe via partnerships with local media players, of which it has eight. BI has a total 17 international editions, but until now there hasn’t been a unified way for advertisers to buy its audiences programmatically across all eight of its European editions.

From October on, buyers will be able to do so across BI editions in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and the Nordics, via a single point. The marketplace will also plug into the publisher’s U.S. inventory. So if a buyer wants to purchase all French-speaking readers, for example, they can target French natives across all the properties since BI works on a revenue-share basis with its partners.

By pooling inventory from all its Europe partner BI editions, the publisher hopes to grow their programmatic revenue further. BI’s UK programmatic revenue grew 112 percent in the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to the publisher. A similar jump was made in the previous quarter. The publisher’s programmatic revenue is roughly 35 percent of overall revenue. The publisher is also considering the potential for including inventory from across other titles in those media partners portfolios, though those discussions have only just started, according to Julian Childs, svp of international and managing director for BI UK.

BI’s local publishing partners are: Prisma Media in France, Finanzen (part of Axel Springer, BI’s parent company) in Germany, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale in Italy, Bonnier Media in the Nordics, Z24 in the Netherlands and Grupa Onet in Poland. In Spain, the local partner is BI owner Axel Springer España. The U.K. operation is owned and operated by BI, which claims to have 30 million monthly visitors across its titles, 8 million of whom are from the U.K.

Agencies are always on the lookout for more simplified ways of buying premium publisher inventory programmatically, in a brand-safe environment. Increasingly, they’re also looking for alternatives to buy at scale, outside of Facebook and Google. BI marketplace inventory will remain within its own walls, rather than being available on the open marketplace, to ensure brand-safety guarantees to advertisers, according to Childs.

“A PMP [private marketplace] is a great way to target potential customers within a trusted, respected environment, so what Business Insider has done will be welcomed by the market,” said John Thomson, head of media for 360i. “All high-value business audiences are hard to reach, but they come at a premium and advertisers are willing to pay for this.”

Meeting ad-buyer demand for simpler ways to scale programmatic buys across multiple regions wasn’t the only driver for the publisher. With the General Data Protection Regulation now enforced, advertisers are increasingly on the hunt for compliant ways to reach audiences. As such, publishers like BI are being asked more for first- and second- party data opportunities, rather than relying on third-party audience buys, which are riskier under GDPR, according to Childs.

“Because of the [GDPR] consent challenges, we’re seeing a shift away from third-party data being used [to buy and scale campaigns],” he said. “We own consent for the data and can work with our partners for add-ins, to create second-party data opportunities. So, we can take audience data from an international partner that we know has [GDPR] consent and pull it into a data set for a buyer.” Advertisers will then have the choice to map their own customer data, to BI audience data to create their ideal segment to target. BI has set up a consent management platform to pass information about audience consent to its ad partners via consent strings.

For now, not all inventory across all partners will be available via the marketplace. How much inventory each edition pools will depend on the partner in each country. But the goal is to keep increasing the amount of inventory that can be pooled, according to Childs. The publisher has had interest from agencies, as well as clients direct — indicative of the ongoing trend of advertisers taking ownership of their media planning and buying.

“Part of our goal here is to make it easy for advertisers that want to be in safe and compliant environments, and who are taking a lot more of this in-house,” added Childs.

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