Thought Leadership

An interview with Ziff Davis on automated advertising

October 29, 2015
By Communications

Adam Hopkinson is International Commercial Director at Ziff Davis, a leading global digital media company specialising in the technology, gaming and men’s lifestyle markets. Its sites include AskMen,,, ExtremeTech.comand

Ziff Davis has enjoyed impressive growth to its automated advertising business over the past year, as outlined in a Rubicon Project case study showing a 4x increase in revenues year-on-year, which you can download here.

We spoke to Adam to understand Ziff Davis’ approach to programmatic and the secrets to its success:

Why Automation?

The expectation we had from the start was that automated advertising was here to replace the i/o, which is extremely out-dated in what is meant to be a cutting edge industry. That is really starting to happen now, and automated guaranteed is absolutely where it should lead.

On Programmatic and Premium

Our thinking from the start was really that automation was about delivering high value inventory to buyers, with zero wastage. Hence it was a given that programmatic should be premium. As a case in point, we are now selling private marketplaces above our waterfall of direct sales.

On Automated Guaranteed

For me, automated guaranteed is where programmatic will really allow sales teams to start being more creative with what they do: more partnerships, more creative executions, more custom content, more events – the list goes on. By freeing up time and resource around guaranteed budgets, this is where automation starts to become a true game changer for us.

There is no reason why 100% of publishers shouldn’t be delighted about automated guaranteed.

On Rubicon Project

Rubicon Project have been tremendous, holding our hand throughout this journey, and they have helped us enormously along the way. Both as a platform, and collectively as a team they have built something we trust, which might not sound like it, but is in fact a big deal in this space. Rubicon Project has effectively cleared out the clutter of the Lumascape, and I believe they will continue to do so.

Download the Ziff Davis case study here.

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