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Hearst ramps up mobile strategy with HTML5 sites, private ad exchange

Hearst is coming on strong in mobile, having recently redesigned all of its digital properties using HTML5 technology while also launching an ad exchange that will enable advertisers to deliver mobile ads at scale.

As of yesterday, all of Hearst?s digital properties have been completely rebuilt and redesigned using HTML5 technology so they can be easily delivered and optimized across the Web, tablets and smartphones. Also this week, Hearst Digital Media announced a private ad exchange that will give advertisers and agencies the ability to target their campaigns to Hearst audiences at scale.

?Mobile is a huge part of what is driving our strategy just by function of the fact that more of our audience is consuming our content on mobile,? said Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer of Hearst Digital Media, New York.

?We are seeing a sharp increase in mobile-specific and tablet-specific requests from advertisers,? she said.

?The fact that we are able to say we can serve ads across multiple platforms ? that is the number one driver for why we are seeing more mobile requests. We can serve ads at a greater scale and address some of the fragmentation issues in mobile.?

Hearst?s digital media division oversees 28 Web sites and 14 mobile sites for brands magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Seventeen and Good Housekeeping.

Digital media buying
Hearst announced last year that it would move forward with an HTML5 strategy for its digital properties and completed the project this week. Other publishers are beginning to embrace a similar strategy since HTML5 enables them to build once and deliver content across multiple platforms.

The creation of a private ad exchange, called the Hearst Audience Exchange, addresses the growing complexities in digital media buying and the desire on the part of premium publishers to maintain the quality of their content. When mobile is layered on top, buying digital advertising can be even more complex for brands and agencies.

?The primary goal of the exchange is that we want to be able to provide better targeting and segmentation as we look to mine our audience more effectively and efficiently,? Ms. Welker said.

Better targeting
The ad exchange is being launched in partnership with Hearst?s data management platform Core Audience. This will enable the ad exchange to manage audience data assets and help advertisers target their campaigns at specific Hearst audiences.

Hearst?s primary focus here is to increase the value of its audience through greater targeting and segmentation.

Clients will be able to execute programmatic digital media buys and more targeted display advertising.

The ad exchange platform is powered by PubMatic.

The move by Hearst follows a similar strategy launched by Conde Nast last year.

As consumers choose to consume more content on mobile, Hearts expects mobile will play a larger role in how it monetizes its audience going forward.

?Twenty to thirty percent of our page views are being driven by tablet or mobile consumption,? Ms. Welker said.

?As we see our mobile traffic continue to grow, it will become a larger part of our audience exchange. And, as targeting improves, we will see more mobile advertising,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York