Hearst rolls out personalised print ads

Publisher Hearst is using tracking technology to serve USA readers with targeted ads – in subscriber copies of its printed magazines.

New York-based marketing magazine AdWeek reported that subscriber copies of Elle were the first to feature the new commercial offering, dubbed MagMatch.

MagMatch has been created by Hearst Data Studio, which is staffed by data scientists, analysts and programmatic specialists. The studio is described as being “dedicated to building and leveraging our proprietary data to power connections with our audience and partners”.

AdWeek said that, using first party data, Hearst can decipher whether a reader is looking at or buying online, for example, a particular skincare product, and can then work with the brand owner to serve the reader a targeted ad in a magazine.

While Elle is the first title to use MagMatch, it is likely to be rolled out across Hearst’s other titles, which include Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health, Esquire and, in the US, Car & Driver.  

The offering will be available across all brand categories, with the exception of pharmaceuticals. The first advertiser to use MagMatch is anti-ageing skincare brand StriVectin, via Elle’s latest US edition. The personalised advert was addressed to the subscriber by name and highlighted a new product from StriVectin, with the message signed off as being from Elle.

Details about the print production methods used for the reader-specific inserts were not disclosed. In the US Quad/Graphics is the Hearst's main print supplier, with a five-year $500m (£462m) deal to produce 20 titles that runs until next year.

It’s not known whether Hearst’s UK operation is also planning to roll out the MagMatch offering. Hearst UK had not commented at the time of writing.


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