Mom’s the word for Toronto-based Ideon Media in the Canadian digital space, following its acquisition of SavvyMom Media and UrbanMoms.ca and their extensive blogger network.
Financial details of the two transactions were not provided.
Ideon president and CEO Kevin Bartus said the company plans to combine the two new properties with its existing parent-focused property BabyPost.com to form a new entity called the SavvyMom Group.
Bartus said the acquisitions provide Ideon with much-needed scale, making SavvyMom Group the largest provider of online content for Canadian moms, with 124,000 unique visitors per month, according to comScore data for February.
“We’re probably not going to get up to a million unique visitors in the mom space in Canada, but if we can get up to 250,000 to 300,000, it’s a fairly dominant offering,” said Bartus.
He said the parenting space represents a significant growth opportunity for Ideon, citing the ability to expand into related fields, such as events. “There’s tons of revenue in the moms and parenting space,” he said. “Frankly, one of the challenges is going to be how do we grow it beyond a digital property.”
He said that many of Canada’s major media companies (with the notable exception of TC Media) are retreating from the digital content space, pointing to Torstar’s recent closure of Torstar Digital and Rogers shuttering several of its content sites, including SweetSpot.ca and CanadianParents.com.
“Most media companies have stopped being aggressive in the digital space,” he said. “So I think there’s an opening for independent companies.”
Bartus said Ideon’s November 2012 purchase of the youth-focused social networking site Nexopia.com alerted potential sellers that his company was in acquisition mode, leading to a conversation with SavvyMom co-founder Minnow Hamilton about a possible deal late last year.
“We were looking for a way to get into native advertising with more scale, and the opportunity to do something with the two biggest brands in the space was too good to pass up,” said Bartus, who spent just under two years as vice-president of digital media for Rogers Media between 2006 and 2008.
Ideon plans to monetize its mom-focused properties through a combination of display ads, placements in its newsletters (which boast more than 65,000 subscribers), as well as social media campaigns. Bartus said there would be a particular emphasis on native advertising.
While display ads still account for about half of Ideon’s revenues, Bartus said their low clickthrough rates suggest there is no consumer appetite for this type of advertising. “Maybe they remember the brand and maybe they don’t, but we all know that most people ignore banner ads,” said Bartus, adding that click-fraud remains pervasive.
He said tracking the impact of sponsored content on a brand will be one of the short-term challenges for Ideon, but that the broad access to Canada’s parenting community also gives an opportunity to provide advertisers with Canadian-specific research.
“We want to be able to lead in the mom space in Canada across as many different channels, and in as many different ways as we can,” he said.