When Reed Business Information formed a centralized Reed Business Interactive division a year ago, Jeff DeBalko, head of the unit and Reed’s chief Internet officer, said one of its objectives would be to expand into the “long tail” of the Internet where advertisers and content providers historically too small to be involved in the advertising marketplace could now participate cost-effectively.
The Reed Partner Network (RPN), a b-to-b online advertising network that was launched Monday, is a prime example of this strategy.
“We’ve been seeing ad networks continuing to gain momentum on the consumer side,” said Sean Keaveny, VP-Web operations at Reed Business Information. “We thought there would be a great opportunity to create a quality b-to-b ad network, and we decided the best thing to do would be to build our own.”
For a publisher, the main drawback to consumer-oriented ad networks, Keaveny said, is low CPM rates. The b-to-b media can generally demand much higher CPMs because their content is so targeted, the sites have developed credibility and loyalty over time, and salespeople can provide specific business-oriented information about their audiences. A network like RPN would strike a balance between those two. “The CPM rates won’t be as high as a b-to-b brand such as Reed’s EDN.com, for example, but they also won’t be at the very low CPM level of a consumer network,” Keaveny said.
The first vertical market targeted for the new ad network is electronic engineering, a category where Reed has such franchises as EDN, Electronic Business and Electronic News.
The list of online publishers that will be recruited to join RPN comes from editors and readers, as well as data on the feeder sites linking into Reed’s sites. “Some are association sites; some are enthusiast types; some are more technical or academic,” Keaveny said. “There’s no particular traffic threshold.”
Reed partnered with Burst Media to launch RPN. “This is really a collaboration,” Keaveny said. “The way we divided the responsibilities, Reed is handling all the selling and the advertiser relationships. On the technical side, we’re running all this on Burst’s system with Burst’s tools. The publisher reporting is all through Burst.”
Last year, Reed started using Burst’s ad management solution called AdConductor, which integrates order entry, campaign management and traffic tools into one unified system.
Burst also has its own ad network, which is focused on independent publishers with specialized consumer content, so Reed and Burst will work together on the recruiting, Keaveny said. The combination of the Burst Network and Reed’s sites provides RPN at launch with a traffic potential of more than 185 million advertising impressions and 20 million unique visitors each month, according to a Burst Media release.
Jarvis Coffin, founder and CEO of Burst, said the Burst Network of 4,500 sites addresses more than 400 categories of content, “from arts and antiques to zoology.” Coffin started his own career selling advertising for Advertising Age. He was also VP-sales at BusinessWeek and held executive sales positions at USA Today and the Los Angeles Times before founding Burst in 1995.