Hot Off the Press: Flipboard CEO Mike McCue’s Interview With AdExchanger

Christel van der Boom / June 2, 2016

Mike McCue, CEO Flipboard

Mike McCue, CEO Flipboard

How do you monetize an audience of 85 million monthly active readers without compromising user experience?

That’s the question AdExchanger editor Allison Schiff recently asked Flipboard CEO Mike McCue when she sat down with him to discuss a recent Poynter report that noted that Flipboard’s audience has been growing while other news apps have seen readership trail off. Schiff asked McCue about advertising on Flipboard and challenged him on topics like ad blocking, competitors and programmatic buying. To give you a taste of the interview, here are three questions and answers.

How would you sum up Flipboard’s approach to advertising?

When publishers move their content to a digital experience, they usually end up going from gorgeous full-page ads to banners and popups—and, frankly, people hate it. The value of these ads continue to decline, the CPMs go lower and lower, and stories can’t get the same level of subsidization this year as they did last year. The nature of storytelling is changing to accommodate better monetization and, basically, we want to help fix that.


We’re a platform that lets storytellers, journalists and brands coexist. Most of what’s moved from offline to online so far is the direct-response stuff, which can be highly quantifiable. That’s not really what we’re about. We’re focused on brand advertising—building desire for a brand—rather than harvesting that desire. Offline advertising still represents about 70% of ad spend. It’s the vast majority of the pie and it’s the advertising we’re going after.

What kind of targeting can you do?

We have something we call the Interest Graph which looks at how people and their interests are connected. We can tell if someone is interested in snowboarding or DIY. We know, for example, that people who follow coffee on Flipboard and people who love handcrafted beer are the same people – and if they aren’t, they’re about to be and they just don’t know it yet.

Beyond targeting, some of our brand clients are also using this information to inform their storytelling. Merrill Lynch, for example, has a whole editorial team creating content everyday about the world financial markets, and like any publisher out there, they need to figure out their editorial strategy and what resonates with their audience.

For the full interview, please continue to read on AdExchanger.

~ChristelV is reading Employee & Brand Advocacy