BDG is using its power with millennials and Z listeners

Sharon Musalli, EVP of Brand Marketing and Experience at BDG.

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News Flash for those who need it: millennials have reached their 30s, and the oldest members of General Z have reached their mid-20s.

That’s why BDG Parenting sees opportunities vertically. BDG itself is a guardian. The media company owns numerous headlines that are popular with Jane Z and Millennials, including Bustle, W, Elite Daily and NYLON.

BDG’s acquisition of Sam Spider last year, along with subsequent parenting publications Scary Mummy, Fatherly and The Dad, was a major step towards increasing the focus on parenting.

The publisher plans to continue building an ecommerce-centric experience across its portfolio that allows local brands to target users throughout their parenting journey. Sharon Musalli, EVP of Brand Marketing and Experiential BDG, says BDG prioritizes reaching out to young adults in a way that suits them.

That means growing up on platforms like TikTok and attending live events like Coachella. At the same time, BDG is creating new ways for advertisers’ newsletters to reach the customer base.

Musley, who joined BDG as part of the Sam Spider deal, spoke with AdExchanger about his plans, as well as BDG’s IPO ambitions and more M&A work.

AdExchanger: What is the current state of BDG’s digital advertising business?

Sharon Musalli: We are experiencing about 30% annual revenue growth. Adding some spiders to our parenting portfolio opens up growth opportunities against segments like local areas for CPG, retail and other parenting.

BDG has 21.5 million followers on TikTok across all brands, and we’ve created over 100 custom content in place for brands like Gap, Sephora and Disney +. We rely heavily on revenue from custom content.

What areas of your business do you expect to grow this year?

Let me start with our CEO Brian Goldberg’s Favorite: Newsletter. The opening rate and engagement rate for the BDG portfolio is higher than what I have seen in my career. This year, we’ve seen a 25% increase in newsletter subscribers, which has also boosted our PII base.

We want to increase newsletter advertising revenue four to five times a year. We have room for growth, especially in the lifestyle and parenting sectors. Our CTO Tyler Love is working on new newsletter advertising products.

We expect 20% revenue growth in 2022 as opposed to the experience.

How are you monetizing your first-party data and preparing to finish third-party cookies?

We’re investing in our technical stack to store our data and make sure it’s clean.

Our strategy is to be ubiquitous and not completely dependent on any distribution platform. If you’re really bothered by the undervaluation of cookies, this may suggest that you rely heavily on a dot-com business. But our social diversity does not allow us to be so negatively affected by the depreciation of cookies.

BDG has used M&A as a source of growth. Will that work?

BDG will continue to be in evaluation mode, looking for acquisitions aimed at increasing our audience. We have a portfolio of 13 brands, but I can imagine a world where, in the next five years, we will have a portfolio of 15 or 20 brands.

BDG’s title Millennium and ZZ is popular with listeners, especially women. What are the opportunities for continuous growth with this audience?

Guardianship is big. The Dad and Fatherly adds part of the paternity, something that the BDG has not specifically addressed before, and it complements the terrifying mother and romper.

Guardianship is an age and stage category. You need to reach out to the parents at every stage of their journey and at all stages of the child’s life. Depending on the age and stage, you can expect a parent to have a high degree of accuracy. What are they hoping for? Do they have newborns? When you can talk about that whole journey, you can work with everyone from diaper brands to insurance companies to get a baby’s first car.

Brands want to reach out to parents in moments of acceptance. There are moments when, for example, a nursing mother feels alone, and if you can talk to her in the right tone at that moment, you have made a more meaningful connection by showing her a list of 20 products. .

How important is trade for BDG business?

Trade is essential to our diversification strategy. We do a lot with affiliates and we work with key players in the ecommerce ecosystem, including DTC brands and large retailers.

Our direct partnerships with DTC brands can drive low-funnel activity. People can scroll through our sites, view featured products in our editorial content, create a cart in real time, and check out.

Done Reported that BDG is targeting a public offer, Probably through a SPAC integration. Is that plan still working?

Brian, our CEO, focuses on a liquidation event or a public listing of the company. I won’t comment on what the funding vehicle or the pipeline is, but it’s definitely on the horizon. We were profitable in ’21, more profitable in ’22, and our acquisition strategy and other indicators led us to the universal list.

How important is diversification, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to how BDG manages its business?

We have an inclusion council and we do training and sensitivity lessons. We have quarterly audits by our editors to evaluate coverage area and imagery. We do biennial pay benchmarking, and we have a commitment that 15% of our products, brands and freelancers come from black manufacturers.

Being a spokesperson for DEI is a long way off, but I think the industry is moving in a positive direction. But do we as a society have to move forward? Sure.

This interview has been edited and summarized.

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