Programmatic meets Print

Combining digital tactics with print may seem counterintuitive, but the programmatic concept is one digital model that is starting to make an impact in the print arena.

Leading the charge is publishing stable Time Inc. (home to brands such as NME, Time and Wallpaper) which is making its print audience segments available in the digital programmatic marketplace, in collaboration with partner MediaMath. US retail giant Target will be the first to execute a print ad campaign across Time Inc. titles purchased exclusively using programmatic technology.

According to reports, this means media planners can now access audience segments across 18 of Time Inc.’s US brands , including sport enthusiasts, travellers, fashion followers, mothers and foodies – for an audience reach ranging from 15 million to 46 million readers within each segment.

"Programmatic print underscores the shift in the industry towards what we call a ProgrammaticFirst™ approach to marketing, which drives measurable outcomes for marketers across all channels," said Sam Cox, Vice President, OPEN Global Media, MediaMath.

The implications of bringing together programmatic and print are significant for both print publishers and businesses. For publishers, it means a potentially lucrative (and efficient) source of ad revenue (Time Inc. claims that advertisers have already bought over a million dollars of inventory, and projects a year-end total of several million) while for advertisers it opens doors to previously untapped audiences.

Direct mail gets personal

The programmatic print phenomenon also looks set to impact on other areas of marketing activity, including direct mail. Tech start-up PebblePost has laid claim to the invention of ‘programmatic direct mail’, which uses online behavioural data to deliver reactive direct mail campaigns within 24 hours – triggered by events such as category searches and basket abandonment.

With immediate response rates for direct mail (DM) already high compared with email ( 79% vs 45% according to a Direct Marketing Association survey) DM already offers a strong ROI case. However, with programmatic DM response and conversion rates allegedly ten times higher than those attached to traditional DM efforts, and 100 times those of typical online display and email retargeting campaigns (according to Lewis Gersh, CEO of PebblePost) it appears the potential is significant. Companies already making use of DM tactics might, therefore, benefit from considering how their ROI could be improved with the addition of programmatic tactics.

Looking at the above trends, it is clear that the appetite for incorporating data-driven targeting tactics is expanding rapidly into the print space. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that Time Inc. intends to make use of third-party audience data as early as next year to continue to hone its audience segments. For both publishers and marketers to seize these exciting new opportunities, it's clear that having access to digestible real-time data and versatile software platforms will be absolutely key.

censhare is helping brands and publishers to evolve to meet the needs of the digital age through smart data, content, assets and channel management – all accessible in one centralised hub. Munich-based publishing house publish-industry Verlag is using censhare to power its multi-channel transformation. As Publishing Director Kilian Müller states: "censhare has helped us to create an infrastructure that equips us for the future as a publishing house". To find out more, explore the publish-industry Verlag case study .

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