How Vox Media Used Custom Ad Units to Give Advertisers Insight into Viewership
Brightcove Technology Propels Concert Platform Success
Through its eight distinct media brands—The Verge, Vox, SBNation, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Curbed, and Recode—Vox Media distributes dynamic video storytelling that’s integrated across all digital platforms and adapted specifically to each target audience. By combining stand-out technology with captivating video and digital journalism, the company produces thought-provoking pieces that advertising partners can trust.
“We only work with premium and brand-safe environments. We also build all of our own ads in-house, which is something that's really rare, and advertisers have really been excited about that. Those two pieces together make sure it's extremely safe,” states Heather Savatta, Director of Ad Solutions.
Vox Media’s audience-first mindset is embraced by both editorial staff and producers working to build custom advertising solutions for marketers. To ensure these turnkey ads play to audiences with speed and reliability across a number of environments, the company appointed Brightcove as its video platform of choice. Leveraging Brightcove’s industry-standard HTML5 playerand trusted viewing analytics, Vox Media is able to monitor video ad performance and overall success, thereby prompting return business from numerous advertising partners.
Evolution of Concert Platform Introduces Advertisers to Turnkey Ad Solutions
Vox Media was founded on the belief that passionate, inquisitive people deserve stories that go deeper, connecting audiences to subjects they value most. The company continues to expand on that creative drive, building standout technology on which Vox Media operates. Take, for example, its proprietary platform, Chorus. As the company’s own content management system (CMS), Chorus is a tightly looped workflow system that runs across all Vox Media brands. On the platform, the company’s own writers and developers manage assignments and tasks seamlessly using its massive collection of publishing tools.
With the success of Chorus, Vox Media’s revenue product team went on to develop an advanced suite of custom ad products targeted specifically to the company’s brand partners. In doing so, these partners were able to leverage Chorus’s same proprietary tools to build custom advertising programs that live on platform, making it easy to share messaging across Vox Media’s O&O properties. This resonated so well with brand partners, Vox Media launched a new sister company called Concert, designed specifically with its advertisers in mind.
The Concert platform operates in partnership with NBCUniversal and collectively sources valuable ad inventory across a variety of premium digital media properties. Concert then provides marketers with innovative ad solutions that are both effective and specific to target audiences. While similar in concept to other ad networks, the platform does differ in that it’s entirely publisher-led. This means the company’s editorial partners are able to build greater relationships with consumers, while still delivering high-impact advertising opportunities for brand partners. Vox Media even leverages Concert to distribute original branded content from Vox Creative, the company’s in-house creative practice.
“We track all the different metrics, and we've been able to help advertisers decide which video to distribute based on the VCR goal that they're going for. Advertisers have been really, really happy with [the] product ... our own ad builder and all our internal tools power them to be live as soon as they send us that video. From a distribution standpoint they look to us as a partner to get their message out as fast as possible, but also in a really safe environment and in premium publishers,” explains Savatta.
Brightcove Player, Metrics Prove Real Value in Vox Media’s Custom Ad Units
In order for Vox Media to deliver its beautiful, first-rate video ads across Concert’s premium collection of ad inventory, the company partnered with Brightcove, using its player to support several custom video ad units, including its UX-friendly outstream format.
Unlike instream ads, which run as pre-, mid-, or post-roll content within a video hosted on a website, outstream ads exist natively on a text-based editorial page outside publisher-owned video content. While users scroll through editorial text on a page, the outstream player comes into view and begins to autoplay muted video. The player itself doesn’t disrupt the editorial content at all; in fact, the video automatically pauses as soon as users navigate further down the page. Vox Media’s version of outstream, therefore, helps publishers maintain a good relationship with consumers— they’re not being distracted by intrusive ad content. Advertisers can also be assured they aren’t irritating audiences while delivering ad messaging.
And with Brightcove player’s critical pause feature, Vox Media can now track more accurate ad performance data. For example, if a user scrolls past an outstream video ad on a page, the player immediately pauses, putting the creative on hold as it scrolls out of the user’s view, ensuring that accurate video completion rates are recorded and the user can easily revisit their drop-off point if they do return to the ad at a later time. With Brightcove’s analytics accurately measuring metrics, Vox Media is better able to properly gauge the success of each ad unit.
With Brightcove’s integrated video player, Vox Media’s in-house product team has the time to focus solely on developing new, innovative products and continuing to lead the way in the digital ad space. As a result of the success with their custom ad formats, the company is seeing more and more advertisers inquiring about its unique product innovations and Concert’s premier ad inventory. At the same time, it’s also seeing an impressive boost in return business, signaling that Vox Media’s advertising solutions have proven effective for marketers.
“When we were rolling out outstream, we knew were going to use Brightcove to build it on...we definitely were able to innovate and get it to market much faster, just building on top of Brightcove,” says Savatta.