Media

StyleCaster to challenge Condé Nast with ‘Style as a Service’ ads (exclusive)

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Fashion-focused media company StyleCaster will launch a proprietary ad platform in mid-January that will challenge Condé Nast, Glam Media and third-party ad networks, the company revealed today.

The new ad platform, dubbed Style as a Service, is a joint venture between StyleCaster and ad space monitoring and brokering service MediaMath and seeks to help fashion, beauty and consumer brands with ad advice and placement. MediaMath gives access to the inventory of publishers like Rodale and the New York Times, while StyleCaster uses its knowledge of branding to act as an advisor for where to place the ads.

“With Style as a Service, brands no longer have to sacrifice scale for highly-integrated, strategic media buys,” David Goldberg, president and co-founder of StyleCaster, told VentureBeat via e-mail. “We can give them both, using MediaMath as the pipeline to inventory across any publishing platform and property layered with proprietary user data for rich targeting.”

StyleCaster has done alpha testing on Style as a Service throughout 2011 with various fashion and beauty brands. One campaign StyleCaster likes to point to that shows off its expertise is the Diet Coke “Stay Extraordinary” campaign. The company also has worked with H&M on branded editorial content for the 2011 holiday season.

At present, StyleCaster.com and its sister site, BeautyHigh.com, attract more than 2 million unique visitors per month. Style as a Service will use user data from the StyleCaster network to find out which publishing properties will be most effective for the brand’s target audience.

“What makes SaaS unique is that we utilize our proprietary data to determine what inventory is most valuable to our brand partners and project which marketing assets spark more consumer engagement, all within an environment that is 100% brand safe,” Goldberg said.

The Style as a Service platform will compete with Condé Nast’s newly launched private ad exchange, which is powered by Google’s Admeld. Goldberg said StyleCaster’s solution is superior because it offers user data to better inform where ads should be placed.

New York-based StyleCaster was founded in 2009 and has raised a total of $5.5 million in funding. Its latest funding round came from the likes of Zynga chief mobile officer David Ko and former MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta.