Annex narrows its target with BlueConic partnership

The two year partnership will give Annex the ability to zero in on audience data for its 68 media brands.

Toronto-based B2B publisher Annex Business Media is zeroing in on audience targeting by partnering with customer data platform company BlueConic.

The deal will allow Annex – a privately owned business media company that publishes approximately 68 media brands, including Design Engineering and Greenhouse Canada – to link audience databases with activity across its websites and e-newsletters for a two-year period.

The result is a single platform that allows the company to track content preferences and trends among users, segment audiences within industries according to content consumption and demographic profiles using BlueConic’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) software.

According to Scott Jamieson, group publisher and director of engagement at Annex Business Media, the company is “essentially renting their software on a two-year contract to figure out how to use it in our company [and] to immerse it in our existing technology stack.”

When it comes to Annex’s online audience, Jamieson told MiC it only knows who about 50% of them are. “Those are the people typically coming from our e-newsletters. We can identify them but we can’t identify them in real time.”

“If you are a subscriber to Canadian Forest Industries and you land on our website, we’ll know immediately who you are, we’ll know if your subscription is expiring so we can make you subscription offers [and] we’ll know what content you’ve been looking at over the past 30 days,” Jamieson said.

And, for example, if a large group of people seem interested in a particular topic, Scott said Annex may choose to create an event around that trend or approach one of its advertisers to see if they would like to engage with the demographic.

While the largest group of magazine titles are in the manufacturing genre, Annex also publishes magazines on agriculture forestry, construction and aviation.  One of its newest acquisitions, Grow Opportunity, is targeted at commercial cannabis growers.

With interest in pure play advertisements waning, the times are changing – and it’s important to change with them.

“We need to be able to offer our advertisers something they can’t get through a programmatic buy on an ad network or through Google ads or Facebook,” he said. “[The partnership] gives us much more depth to our audience view so that pretty much anything an advertiser wants to target, we can say, ‘Ok, we can do that,’ either in a unique or individual market, across all 68 markets, or across all manufacturing or all agriculture [titles].”

Although Annex’s revenue this year was above last year thanks to magazine acquisitions and a growing events portfolio, Jamieson recognized that “it’s been a challenging year.”

The new CDP will roll out in September 2018, and after six months of internal testing and calibrating will be available for client-side marketing work.