In a new type of partnership with a publisher, AOL has formed an ad-sales alliance with Bonnier's Parenting Group to help sell reserved ad inventory on Parenting.com, the digital home of Parenting magazine. At the same time, AOL will drive web traffic to Parenting.com by featuring links to Parenting content on several AOL sites. The two companies will share revenue from combined campaigns.
While AOL already helps publishers sell unsold inventory through its own ad network, this deal is unique because AOL's sales team will get the opportunity to sell another publisher's premium, reserved ad inventory, said Ned Brody, AOL's chief revenue officer. For AOL, the deal also signals a continued focus on the female demographic, one of the three pillars of Tim Armstrong's content strategy, along with local and influencers. Parenting.com's readership is more than 80% female.
"I think every advertiser wants to reach as much of a target market as it can with a single purchase," Mr. Brody said. "By taking their inventory and our inventory, we have the scale to get to as many parents as possible in a single buy."
Parenting.com, AOL Family and HuffPost Parents sites reached a combined 12.5 million unique visitors in November, the companies said. Parenting.com registered 1.4 million unique visitors in November, according to Comscore.
Mark Wildman, VP-group publisher for The Parenting Group, said the deal should help Parenting.com on several fronts. First, it will allow Parenting to tap into the scale of AOL that some marketers covet while giving Parenting's sales team access to agencies that previously wouldn't offer them a seat at the table. AOL's ad-tech products should also help Parenting offer cross-platform marketing programs that it didn't previously have the technology to support. Lastly, the content-linking portion of the agreement will help expose new readers to Parenting.com content, increasing site traffic.
"Admittedly, in the past, we may have had that fantastic idea for a client but we were limited by our audience size from a digital standpoint," Mr. Wildman said. "And AOL just has that deeper relationship for digital, social, and mobile opportunities because of the nature of their enterprise and the scale of their enterprise."
Mr. Wildman said the most time-intensive aspect of the deal-making process involved logistics, such as creating processes to ensure that each company's sales teams aren't duplicating each other's efforts. Still, which sales team takes the lead on each proposal will often be determined on a case-by -case basis, he said.
In addition to Parenting, Bonnier's magazine brands include, Field & Stream, Popular Science, Ski and Saveur.