Industry Insights
Investopedia.com on Advertising to High-Value Financial Audiences

scott-miller-investopedia

Scott Miller
Chief Revenue Officer
Investopedia

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For those of us that aren’t familiar with Investopedia, please tell us a little more about your website and core audience.

Investopedia is the world’s leading source of financial content on the web, with more than 21 million unique visitors and 71 million page views each month. Powered by a team of data scientists and financial experts, Investopedia offers timely, sharp insights so investors can make smarter decisions. From early investors to financial advisors to high net worth individuals, Investopedia is a trusted source of financial information. Investopedia is operated by IAC Publishing, a collection of some of the web’s largest and most trusted digital media brands.

 

According to the major trade publications, programmatic buying is the main mode in which digital ads will be bought and sold in the future. However, high-value financial audiences may not be best suited to be purchased in a programmatic environment. What is your take on programmatic buying and has it had a significant impact on your business?

Programmatic buying is just another way to buy an audience that’s more efficient as long as the right data is involved. Programmatic buying continues to grow and should not be overlooked. Investopedia does not use programmatic as a low-cost remnant source, but we use it as “premium” programmatic where everything competes and we are getting exceptionally high CPMs that’s able to win valuable inventory. We see this as a fast growing part of our business and even recently hired a Director of Programmatic Sales to accelerate the growth. We see it having a significant impact on our business in the very near future.

 

Many publishers are moving towards a branded content and native ads model, to protect their inventory from commoditization and uphold premium CPMs they can charge due to these custom executions. Is Investopedia offering any types of Branded Content, Native Units, or Sponsored Posts – how does your organization feel about this internally?

We are big believers that branded content and native advertising is here to stay and we see it as a big growth area for us. We are able to provide insight to our clients into what our audience wants to read about through topic sizing from our team of content and data scientists. We can either help syndicate content for clients or help to create original content that would live on the site which would gain the benefits of our incredibly strong SEO and an annuity of traffic. We have also created a brand new product called the Thought Leadership Centers that allows clients to align their content with relevant Investopedia content around a single topic. There has been a lot of interest in this product and very positive feedback from financial marketers. We have also invested in using a native ad server for all of our content programs that offers more than a dozen different engagement metrics to prove the success of programs like these.

 

Ad blocking is starting to gain traction with consumers, especially those that frequent gaming or technology sites. How is the ad blocking situation for your finance-oriented audience, and are you taking any steps to mitigate further usage of ad blocking on your properties?

Ad blocking has been a real pain for those Publishers who offer free content in exchange for having ads on the page. Investopedia is one of those Publishers, so back in October, we had rolled out a partnership with a company that will protect the future of our free content and allow us to display alternative, non-intrusive advertising to our readers. Since the implementation, we have been able to win back significant lost revenue and maintain solid ad performance for our clients.

 

Many financial institutions and credit card providers (especially in the US), do affiliate deals with properties across the web to get users to sign up for their new offers. They typically work with these affiliates on a CPL or CPA basis. Have you done such deals before, and if so, what is your experience with them?

Affiliate programs or performance marketing as we call it, is another area that we are investing heavily in. Investopedia is in the early stages of building a solid business leveraging our highly engaged audience who continue to take action after coming to our site. We have partnered with top companies like Bankrate, Graphiq, LendingTree, Quinstreet and others who offer rate comparison tables that are placed in and around highly relevant content and we have seen incredibly strong results early on.

 

To the extent that you can reveal, what is the % breakout of revenue coming from direct ad sales, as compared to that coming from ad networks, or exchanges? What do you think is the case for publishers in the same category? 

A majority of Investopedia’s revenue comes from direct ad sales including display, sponsorships, video, native, content and email, which allows us to get the highest rates possible. The balance comes from our programmatic and performance marketing businesses. We have eliminated working with ad networks and other remnant providers quite some time ago. I think many other financial Publishers rely heavily on remnant providers like ad networks to monetize their traffic at much lower rates.

 

These days, audiences are distributed across multiple platforms and consuming content in an agnostic way – whether it be on a publishers’ website, email, social channels, youtube, snapchat, RSS feeds, etc. How does this type of behavior by consumers affect the way you sell advertising?

Advertisers need to be where the conversations are happening and where their target audiences are going, so creating opportunities that will allow them to be in those areas is critical. Publishers need to think outside of just display media to help their clients get their message out there, distribute content or have a say in the conversation. Investopedia will be announcing a new product in the next few weeks that allows our audience of investors to ask questions to our audience of financial advisors and get the answers they need to get smarter. This is where the conversation is going on and where the marketers can add value to these very valuable audiences.

 

What are some counter-intuitive brand verticals, outside of finance, that high-value financial audiences convert well for?

High value financial audiences are perfect for not only financial companies, but luxury, travel, education, insurance, auto, consumer tech and retail as well. When you’re delivering affluent consumers who not only invest a lot of money, but spend their income on traveling, buying cars, homes, jewelry and boats, going on vacations and more, this is an audience that many different types of companies in various industries are trying to get their brand and products in front of.

 

Have you had the chance to work on any private marketplace deals, and if so, what was your experience with them?

Investopedia has been doing a very good job of opening up numerous PMPs with the agency trading desks and have seen lots of success with them. By leveraging data, content and all our products, we are able to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time to maximize engagement and deliver the client’s KPIs so that spending increases month over month.

 

Lastly, what do you see as the future of the way digital advertising is bought and sold, as it pertains to financial audiences?

The future of digital advertising as it pertains to financial audiences will continue to be relationship based and is moving to more content related programs, which are not bought through automated ways such as programmatic. The more strategic conversations Publishers and marketers can have together, the better the results will be. It will continue to be leveraging the audience relationships the Publishers have and connecting them in such a way that there is credibility with the marketing message. Marketers need to be using new and existing educational and thought leadership types of content to differentiate themselves from their competitors so that consumers better understand who they are, what makes them different and the products they have to offer.

 


 

Wholly owned by IAC (NASDAQ: IAC), Investopedia is the world’s leading source of financial content on the web, with more than 20 million unique visitors and 60 million page views each month. Powered by a team of data scientists and financial experts, Investopedia offers timely, trusted and actionable financial information for every investor, from early investors to financial advisors to high net worth individuals. Investopedia is operated by IAC Publishing, a collection of some of the web’s largest and most trusted digital media brands.

Investopedia is committed to educating financial advisors and affluent investors on a wide range of financial topics including:

Wealth Management
Retirement
Mutual Funds and ETFs
Technical and Fundamental Analysis
Alternative Investments

The site was started in June 1999 at the height of the internet stock boom as an unbiased source to learn about investing.

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