Guardian's 'Pulse' proposition enables advertisers to target engaged readers through 'surging' content

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Advertisers can target trending Guardian online content, as it is being read by the site’s most engaged users, with technology created in-house at the publishing group.

Pulse is the group’s newly launched “programmatic proposition”.

It works much like a stock market, following the trend towards programmatic buying of the past six years that enables advertisers to survey an “inventory” of options in real-time before purchasing.

Pulse, in particular, identifies content that is showing more than 300 views per minute – known as “surging” content – and then overlays audience data that shows the most engaged users as well as the ability to filter by editorial topics such as travel, sport or life and style.

As a result, advertisers can to react quickly to buy space alongside relevant stories.

Surging content receives a set price “on the floor” but advertisers can compete for it and bid more to get it, said Fabien Papini, head of programmatic sales at Guardian Media Group.

He said Pulse could be used by an athlete’s branded sponsors to target content about them during the Rio Olympics, for example, rather than taking out a month’s digital display advertising.

“The key advantage for this is if content is being read by an audience you can target that user in the moment rather than over a month,” he said.

Nick Hewat, commercial director at Guardian News and Media, said: “Not only are we able to offer advertisers one of the most premium digital environments, but we can also ensure we maximise every element of the ad by placing it in the most appropriate context, at the best possible time to our most engaged and influential readers.”

Guardian News and Media has faced escalating losses over the last year as it has faced increased competition for online advertising from the likes of Google and Facebook.

This week it was reported that parent company Guardian Media Group’s operating loss for the year to the end of March has more than tripled year on year to £68.7m.

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