MIAMI — What has Jeff Bezos ever done for print? Transformed the fortunes of the Washington Post, for one.
Since acquiring the paper in 2013, the Amazon CEO has put money in to journalists, video and new technologies, with the result that the paper overtook The New York Times for unique users last December, according to comScore.
Now the Post under Bezos is innovating on ad products – by cutting back on ad volume, for an audience of readers growing tired of mobile ad overload.
“You can’t clobber them over the head with advertisements,” Washington Post product strategy senior director Jeff Burkett says in the video interview with Beet.TV.
“In the new Washington Post app (we call that ‘Rainbow‘, which was a vision from Jeff Bezos), the mandate from the top was ‘zero latency’ and ‘big and beautiful’. Ads had to meet the same criteria as the content did.
“We ended up building our own ad server called Prizm that is able to accomplish that. That integrates in with the CMS to publish the ads alongside the content. You never have a spinning wheel.”
AdAge has previously covered the development of WaPo’s in-house ad server. But that’s not the only software a publisher that is also now a technology maker is working on. The company has also written a tool that rewrites headlines to better effect. Alongside Prizm, then, stands “Bandito“.
“We’ve built a technology that, in real-time, is testing multiple headlines across different platforms, in different goes, against different audiences, and is determining what is the optimal headline to be used at this moment in time, and then is dynamically changing the headline,” Burkett adds. “Nobody is going back in and manually changing it.”