Today The Washington Post’s Arc Publishing announces Zeus Platform, a suite of tools and services for its patent-pending advertising delivery system built for publishers, by publishers. In a guest blog post, The Post’s VP of Commercial Technology and Development Jarrod Dicker reveals the features behind the latest release and explains how Arc Publishing will make Zeus Platform available on any publishing system on any site on the web today, laying the foundation for a premium programmatic network.

Here at The Washington Post, we believe user experience (UX) and privacy should never be at odds with smart revenue generation and advertising engagement. In fact, we’re at our best when these components build off of one another harmoniously, which is why we’re relentlessly focused on developing tools and services to achieve that harmony across the organization. Today, we’re doubling down on the notion that optimal advertising and optimal UX aren’t mutually exclusive with the release of Zeus Platform – our biggest update to the industry’s fastest, smartest and most compatible programmatic technology stack to date. This release comes with new features, faster deployment, better performance and a Programmatic Services arm to help publishers maximize revenue the right way. Zeus Platform, while offered as a part of Arc Publishing, is a superior software for all. Any publisher on any content management system can take advantage of the platform and join the network.

A few years ago, we set out to create a technology that improves advertising performance and delivery in order to maximize UX without sacrificing revenue. We had realized that there wasn’t an existing technology, product or platform that did this. So instead of waiting or assuming it couldn’t be done, we decided to build it ourselves. We believed we could satisfy both our advertising partners and our readers, while at the same time bringing something new to the market that drives not only The Post forward, but the industry as well. What happened?

Since Zeus was enabled, The Post’s advertising latency has decreased by 80 percent, overall click-thru-rates have increased by 40 percent and we have exceeded nearly twice the industry average for viewability. These metrics continue to improve in unison with every update and release.

As consumers rightfully demand more trust, more reliability and a better overall experience, now was the right time to push forward and help design a better web with a commercially-driven technology that’s available to all. The value of Zeus Platform is extensive, yet simple – increase revenue while building a better UX. At a standard level, we can have Zeus.js driving higher costs per impression (CPMs), better UX and optimal performance across properties in as little as a month. At a premium level, we are opening up products and strategies built and employed by The Washington Post’s advertising team to set the foundation for a premium media network of publishers and advertisers. A state of the art contextual engine, proprietary advertising platform products built from The Post’s research, experimentation and development team (RED) and much more run on top of Zeus Platform.

The Washington Post has evolved and optimized Zeus to also capitalize on programmatic revenue, and now those tools and tactics are packaged as a true software as a service offering called Zeus as a Service, or ZaaS. This is a newly constructed team within Arc Publishing comprised of programmatic sales and engineering experts who will help partners optimize their stack on top of Zeus and push forward any new integrations (internal or external) that drive more revenue. Zeus does the work, and the people accelerate the results.

Products and features we’ve added to Zeus Platform include better performance, speed, targeting and viewability indicators, such as:

Performant: Zeus.js is the lightest and best performing header wrapper in the industry today – 50 percent lighter than competitors.

Smart: Leverages Clavis, The Post’s suite of audience targeting technologies, to make automated contextual and sentiment-based targeting a core system component.

Interoperable: Fitted to support all ad servers and content management systems.

Responsive: Ad rendering and display automatically adjust based on UX indicators.

Updated: Modern architecture with event-driven rendering.

Optimized: A new rendering algorithm maximizes key performance indicators such as viewability. Zeus detects and sets up different rendering strategies to deliver the right ad in the right size at the right time. No additional custom setup required.

Human Touch: Pairing best in class advertising strategy with best in class advertising technology.

Network: A premium programmatic network of publishers delivering premium advertising to a premium audience.

Zeus is part of a suite of Arc monetization tools that will be released throughout 2019, all with a focus on performance, privacy and optimal experiences. Over the next few quarters, we will release the Zeus Management System, reporting tools, contextual and sentiment-based targeting and the opportunity to run RED platforms across the network. Publishers will be able to combine the best monetization technologies with the tools and tactics mastered and deployed by The Washington Post to instantly drive their own businesses forward. This industry demands trust and quality, and Zeus Platform lays the future tracks a premium network should run on. This puts the power back where it belongs – with publishers.

Zeus is available for any client, and we’re currently evaluating new partner opportunities for the next charter. Alpha partners will have access to any future updates and feature enhancements and become part of a premium media network. Interested partners can send a note to zeus@washpost.com.