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Inside BuzzFeed’s pivot to programmatic advertising

March 09, 2018 / Tim Peterson

Once one of the most high-profile programmatic holdouts, BuzzFeed has embraced the automated ad business to the point that last week it opened its programmatic inventory to its entire sales team. BuzzFeed took a measured approach to programmatic until August 2017, when it announced it would start selling traditional banner ads through open exchanges like Google’s AdX and ad networks like Facebook’s Audience Network. The publisher began testing the standard display ads on its site in September and “stepped on the gas in October and November,” said Dan Walsh, who oversees BuzzFeed’s programmatic business on a day-to-day basis as gm of BuzzFeed.com. “Just last week, I opened it up to the entire sales team to start having those conversations across more than just trading desks, across more than just agencies, going direct to clients,” said Lee Brown, BuzzFeed chief revenue officer. Brown said opening up programmatic has brought in new advertisers, ...