Flipboard Launches A New Targeted Ads Product Based On Its Interest Graph

Flipboard today is opening up some better targeting to its advertising partners in the form of the advertising based on the interest graphs it has built for its users.

Here’s an example: an advertiser that chooses to advertise with coffee topics may also have their ads shown with craft beer topics. The reason behind that, Flipboard head of advertising products Dave Huynh said, is that many of the same people who read stories about coffee also care about stories about craft beer.

“The advertiser may not have considered that relationship ahead of time, but what our data is telling you, that’s the same kind of consumer you’re interested in,” Huynh said. “The same person has similar interests, and they’re more likely to be in line with what you want to be your initial goal.”

Interest Graph GraphicHuynh said the goal for this kind of ad product was to essentially recreate the advertising experience that is seen in magazines — with high-quality ads being placed against content that might not be directly relevant, but is nonetheless related. That more or less fits in line with Flipboard’s overall mission of emulating the magazine experience on a mobile device, he said.

“With this targeting, we’re able to bring our ads really close to the content and recreate this kind of relevant content and ad package on mobile,” Huynh said. “This is especially important at a time where bad ad experiences are being blocked, and as print circulation declines, we’re trying to pioneer a way to bring back an environment where everyone wins.”

The goal of a product like this, like for any interest graph, is to leverage the data a company has collected into something that helps marketers display ads to users that they will not ignore — and even enjoy reading if the quality of the advertisement is high enough. That requires catching users at the right moment and place on Flipboard, which marketers can do better with a new product like this.

For now, the pricing model is going to stay the same, Huynh said.

Still, Flipboard is finding itself competing with companies like Apple and Facebook (with new products like its Instant Articles), meaning it has to find a way to not only differentiate itself as a product, but also as a product for advertisers. This is clearly a step in that direction. By giving advertisers access to that more advanced data, it can woo them to use Flipboard over other curated products, which can then help it generate more revenue and continue to invest in its business.

Flipboard earlier this year raised $50 million in a new financing round. The company says it has 80 million monthly active users, with most of them reading on mobile devices.