Cox widens political advertising reach with Gannett partnership

Cox Digital Solutions, an online advertising solutions firm, is partnering with Gannett Co, Inc, a media and marketing solutions company, to become Gannett’s exclusive seller of digital political and advocacy advertising for Gannett U.S. Community Publishing and Gannett Broadcasting websites, says Steve Shaw, president of Cox Digital Solutions.

Shaw says the partnership centers around accessing Gannett’s online media inventory in order for political advertisers to target a greater audience on both a local and national level in the 2012 election cycle.

“We’ve already developed exclusive relationships with Yahoo and The Weather Channel,” says Shaw, adding that a partnership with Gannett was a natural step for the company. “Gannet is one of CoxReps [of which Cox Digital Solutions is a subsidiary] largest companies, and we have dealt with them on projects in the past,” Shaw says.”They have a massive footprint and existing partnership on CoxRep’s TV representation side, so it made sense to leverage our digital offering with their inventory.”

Cox Digital Solutions also saw Gannett as a “high-value proposition,” Shaw says, because Gannet has media presence in 11 to 13 swing states and during elections—a primary interest to advertising politicians. Shaw says Cox Digital Solutions sees in Gannett an opportunity for political advertisers to target specific areas down to congressional districts. “In politics, it all comes down to local and community,” Shaw says. “Even the presidential election gets local,” says Shaw, citing fundraisers as an example of local appeal. 

“In this election, digital advertising is really coming of age,” Shaw states, adding: “There’s a lot of public data online that [political advertisers] can use—lists of registered voters and lists of past campaign workers, for instance. Advertisers can reach out on a very direct level to a pre-qualified audience.” Shaw adds that video is bigger than ever in the 2012 election, and says the Cox homepage hover ad, which features a video, is a favorite among politicians looking to target specific voters.

Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing and Gannett Broadcasting reaches 24.5 million unique visitors and 11% of the total Internet audience each month, says Shaw, noting that as a result of the partnership, Cox Digital Solutions will reach 155 million unique users and nearly 70% of the total U.S. Internet audience. 

Shaw declined to comment on the financial terms of the agreement, and says that the partnership is scheduled to last through the 2012 election cycle and then Shaw says, “we’ll see from there.”

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