Federated Media Gets Mighty Mid-Tail Haul With Lijit Acquisition


ADOTAS – “We provide the business half of a CMS platform,” Lijit COO Walter Knapp said when describing his company’s mid-tail publisher monetization service back in February. The company has pushed itself as a true supply-side platform/partner for mid-tail sites, providing both typical website services via widgets as well as ad inventory monetization.

Lijit seems to have found a suitable partner in acquirer Federated Media Publishing, which boasts a network of premium independent editorially aligned across four major categories with countless content verticals within. Though the press people are saying the companies will operate individually, together the conjoined enterprise will reach nearly 300 million global uniques monthly across 77,000 publishers and 15,000 expert communities.

Lijit alone provides 70,000 small and midsize publishers with easily installable and customizable widgets (including search, analytics and reader tools) in exchange for data collection used for site analysis, vertical optimization and ultimately audience monetization.

About a year ago, Lijit hopped into the display advertising game, offering to serve any percentage of a publisher’s impressions (from just remnant to the full load) while giving publishers the ability to change their agreement or leave at any time. Hooked into all the major DSPs, trading desks and other demand sources, Lijit offered larger content verticals by grouping inventory from several thousand mid-tail sites, most of them affinity-based with highly engaged readers.

This should make a nice match with Federated’s multifarious ad services, including content marketing and distribution and multichannel conversational marketing. While Lijit has an impressive roster of mid-tail clients, Federated’s publisher network boasts some of the largest independent pubs (with dedicated and socially active readerships — about 20% of the visitors across FM’s pubs hail from social media sites) across four categories: FM Tech (which includes BoingBoing, ReadWriteWeb and GigaOm), FM Living (Chictopia, The Awl, The Hairpin) FM Business (Venture Beat, The Next Web and Dealbreaker) and FM Real-Time (Imgur, Tweetmeme, AppleInsider). All in all, the combined entity should be able to offer advertisers a very comprehensive set of sites big and (sorta small) for most content verticals.

But there’s another fun angle — under the tutelage of demand-side tech provider Turn, Lijit introduced real-time bidding capabilities to its platform in June, allowing its publisher base to set CPM price floors and create custom targeting segments. FM and Lijit are planning to build numerous private exchanges in the coming month to enable their publishers to charge higher CPMs for audience targeting on premium content.

Lijit is keeping its Boulder, while most of the executive staff are taking high-ranking rolls at FM. In particular, founder and CEO Todd Vernon will become EVP of Technology at Federated Media; CTO Manny Puentes will become SVP of Technology; and the aforemetioned Knapp will become SVP of Platform Revenue.


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