Today's redesign and upgrade of The Huffington Post, a popular online source for news and opinion, added new sections that not only improved site organization but should also be popular with advertisers concerned about content association, according to Chief Revenue Officer James Smith.
Smith said the upgrade will enable marketers to better position their ads to match the stories and blog entries on the site. Huffington Post is now divided into sections focusing on politics, business, entertainment, lifestyle and media that enable site founder Arianna Huffington and her colleagues to broaden the its "arsenal of marketing solutions" said Smith.
"These all were covered, to different degrees [before the re-design]," he said. "We were heavier on media and politics. But it became clear to us that our audience was giving us license to more broadly define what we are reporting on and that led to more and more content on entertainment and business to the point where we realized we could roll out sections and get more robust coverage."
The new editorial expansion "allows marketers to advertise in environments that best complement their brands," said Smith. "These sections allow advertisers to put their creative and content in areas they find more powerful for their message. Xerox may find that their advertising has more impact in a business-focused environment and, in fact, Xerox is a sponsor in our business section for that reason."
Spreading out the content also creates more real estate for ad sales, Smith acknowledged. He said the redesign does not affect ad pricing, nor does it include any changes related to the types of advertising accepted.
"We already had a fully optimized, rich media-capable, sponsorship-friendly advertising platform," said Smith. "That has not changed." He added the site's developers are always looking for improvement. "Certainly, given this content expansion, we continue to think and work to expand our creative advertising possibilities, which may include an expansion of the types of units we can offer," he said.
The Huffington Post, which reports more than 70 million page views monthly and more than 3.3 million users, will host the first-ever online presidential debate this autumn. Smith said there will probably be some special advertising opportunities offered to coincide with the event.
Last August, the company also took a $5 million investment from Softbank Capital to be used for hiring more staff to keep the site updated round-the-clock. Smith would not say whether the money is also being used to fund the content expansion which, he said, involved substantial hiring and new offices.
Huffington Post recently chose Gorilla Nation for online ad representation, having the firm assume sales duties in Texas, Southern California, Detroit, Canada and the United Kingdom.
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