Flipboard is further integrating technology from its acquisition of Zite, and the effort is aimed at advertisers. Today the publishing platform company opened up its data to enable marketers to better target their ads based on any of the 34,000 interests and topics on the system.
Prior to today, brands needed to purchase ad placements directly through Flipboard or through one of its partners. But in doing so, it was limited to how granular targeting could get. As Flipboard seeks to work with more premium commercial advertising campaigns, it’s going to need to be more flexible in how marketers target their budget spend.
What the availability of the interest graph provides is the combination of contextual advertising with behavioral targeting, without the need to identify users based on cookies or tracking tags. Instead advertisers will be focusing their ads on users’ interests, which Flipboard believes will provide insights into their income level and other useful demographic data.
In an example provided by Flipboard’s head of advertising and monetization products Dave Huynh, say you’re looking to target your ads around the interest big data. Starting today, the company’s ad server will also show you options for placing ads around other interests such as Hadoop, Amazon Web Services, and machine learning. So traditionally, if I wanted to market my car, it would probably be limited to just automobiles. But now, Flipboard promises that the Zite-created technology will enable brands to look at topics like Toyota, electric vehicles, self-driving cars, transportation, and others.
“Flipboard is well known for beauty and design, which is reflected in the presentation of content as well as advertising,” said Flipboard chief executive Mike McCue in a press release. “We combine this beauty with ‘brains’: our deep understanding of the intricate connections between people, content and interests through our Interest Graph. The Interest Graph powers content discovery on Flipboard and now, we’re opening it up to our brand partners who want to get their messages in front of their audience in the right context as well as in the right mindset.”
Over the past year, Flipboard has been working to slowly integrate components from Zite, starting with the rollout of version 3.0, which tapped into the topics engine. Then the company rolled out new tools to help users fine-tune the content that they’re seeing. It appears these releases have helped in accelerating user growth: There are now 80 million monthly active users, up from July when it had 72 million.
The debut of this new advertising offering comes just days after the departure of Evan Doll, one of Flipboard’s cofounders. He’ll be stepping into an entrepreneur-in-residence role with investment firm Redpoint Ventures.