As Vox Media looks to attract more marketers to its digital properties, it’s beefing up its own marketing capabilities.
The company has named Lindsay Nelson, who had overseen Vox’s branded content business, as its first chief marketing officer.
Ms. Nelson will oversee a new marketing division within Vox that encompasses branded content, the company’s growing stable of advertising products, revenue streams (such as ad revenue share deals with platforms like Facebook) and ad partnerships, as well as Vox’s external marketing efforts aimed at the advertising industry and consumers.
To date, under Ms. Nelson, Vox has been one of the more aggressive digital publishers when it comes to producing and distributing content on behalf of paying marketers. For example, recently the company built a full-fledged digital travel content site for Chase.
Vox Media’s branded content business, led by Vox Creative, is on track to achieve revenue in the nine-figure range this year, said a person familiar with the matter.
“One of the challenges in this industry we’re seeing, is that there is a lot of wonderful content being created for brands, that’s becoming table stakes,” said Ms. Nelson, who reports directly to Vox Media Chief Executive Jim Bankoff. “But If you can’t get people to consume it you’re not going to change anyone’s business.”
Naturally, Ms. Nelson sees Vox’s strength lying in its ability to not only make content for brands, but to help these brands succeed at getting that content in front of consumers using its distribution network and analytics stable. To help realize that potential, Vox has also hired ad agency veteran Armando Turco to become the first General Manager of Vox Creative.
Mr. Turco, who has logged stints at agencies such as BBH and McAnn Erickson, will work with Ms. Nelson to make sure that Vox’s branded content efforts are as connected as possible to the rest of the organization, she said.
Meanwhile, as a result of NBCUniversal’s $200 million investment in Vox in 2015, the two companies last year launched the ad initiative Concert, which also falls under Ms. Nelson’s domain. Concert resulted in Vox’s unique ad placements running on NBCU’s digital properties, with both companies selling each others’ ad space. Concert, which has added new distribution partners such as Flipboard, is now on track to achieve revenue in the eight-figure range, said a person familiar with the matter.
Going forward, Ms. Nelson said that the vision for Concert is to built a vast, strictly premium network for so-called native ads. That’s been the goal of many “programmatic native” companies, which have seen their businesses grow. Still, that sector has failed to unseat traditional web banners just yet.
“We are interested in developing the largest collection of premium digital ad products,” said Ms. Nelson. “If we can sync up with other premium publishers, you can have scale without having to sacrifice trust. That doesn’t’ exist in the market today.”