IAC Looks to Lure Advertisers with New Demographic Segments

IAC Advertising Solutions is hoping to stimulate ad sales across its stable of Web sites by offering marketers the chance to buy media by “audience cube.”

The cubes divide the audiences for all 26 IAC sites into nine demographic categories. They range from the simple — 18-34-year-old females, for example — to the more complex, like active travelers, homeowners and sports fans.

The idea is to help marketers see beyond the individual brands offered by IAC properties and take a more comprehensive view of its audience, said Leslie Cafferty, manager of IAC corporate communications.

“What IAC advertising solutions did was look across our inventory and realize we reached a far higher number of audience segments than you would think just by looking at the sites we own now,” she said.

For example, IAC no longer owns any travel sites, having spun off Expedia. But it can still offer access to those making travel plans thanks to sites like Evite or Citysearch, said Cafferty. “If someone in New York RSVPs ‘yes’ to an Evite for a party in Chicago or makes a reservation through Citysearch for a restaurant in another city, we know they are making travel plans,” she said.

IAC is also hoping to sell advertisers on the idea that it can offer deeper data about its audience than other ad networks.

“We have access to all this rich data because we own the sites themselves,” said Cafferty. “Larger ad networks may not have access to that data.”

She added that the nine cubes were merely a start, and that more would be rolled out over time. IAC properties include Match.com, Ticketmaster and Excite.

The cubes now become just one way advertisers can buy space across IAC platforms. Marketers can still buy ads on individual sites or team with IAC to create custom media buys or sponsorships.

Cafferty said the rollout of the new targeting options was a direct result of client demand.

There was a time when “if you wanted to get specific, you had to sacrifice reach,” she said. “With this new targeting ability, we’ve redefined from quality versus reach to quality and reach. It’s something we’ve been hearing about endlessly from advertisers.”

IAC is hardly the only network looking to repackage its inventory with an eye toward targetability these days. Revenue Science introduced audience segments based on season.

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