Detroit Wants More Ad Inventory, Gets It

Jumpstart Automotive Media will begin selling ad inventory on sites outside its network through a deal with behavioral targeting firm Revenue Science.

The agreement should thrill auto marketers, as it has the potential to increase the amount of inventory available to reach in-market car buyers.

In the short term, Jumpstart CEO Mitch Lowe said the deal would approximately double the impressions his company can sell to car manufacturers and dealers. He said Jumpstart now serves 120 million impressions a month to 4.6 million unique visitors on its sites, which include Vehix.com, Automotive.com, NADAguides.com and Consumer Guide Automotive.

“We’ve looked at behavioral for the last year and have talked with each of the car makers about what the value proposition is,” said Lowe. “Revenue Science will be the ad serving technology. We’ll work with [them] to go out and collect publishers that want to sell at a higher CPM.”

How many publishers Jumpstart can “collect” is uncertain. So far it’s only named remnant media broker Advertising.com as a source of ad space, but Revenue Science said it’s helping Jumpstart build relationships with several publishers that have already implemented its technology. These relationships are in “various stages,” according to Nick Johnson, SVP of business development for Revenue Science, but he calls it an easy value proposition for site owners.

“This is the category and quarter that could supercharge behavioral targeting,” Johnson added. “You’ve got the seasonality of in-market car buying, and the incredible [scarcity of online inventory].”

Car manufacturers have essentially bought up all the contextually relevant ad inventory on the Web, from sites like Edmunds.com, MSN Autos and the properties in Jumpstart’s network. Yahoo and other online media companies have described feeling strong pressure from auto makers to up their use of behavioral technology to expose in-market car buyers on non-automotive Web pages.

Some have complied. Yahoo recently expanded a program that targets display ads based on its users’ recent search activity. The change means advertisers can now serve banners targeted by search behavior for two days. Previously the time window was only one hour.

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