Keywee Signs 100th Publishing Customer​

Keywee Signs 100th Publishing Customer​

Since launching our solution earlier this year in March, we have worked with a lot of the leading publishers and we have the good fortune to call many of them our customers. We recently signed New York Media as our 100th customer in the publishing segment, and to mark the event, we just put out this press release…

Keywee Signs 100th Publishing Customer

Content Marketing Innovator Drives Tremendous Success in First Year

New York, NY – December 15, 2015 – Keywee announced today that it signed New York Media, the publisher of New York Magazine and digital properties including Vulture, The Cut and Grub Street, as its 100th customer in the publishing segment. New York Media is using Keywee’s content marketing platform to drive social engagement and reach new audiences with its content via paid distribution on platforms like Facebook.

Keywee has signed an impressive list of publishing customers since launching its platform in March. Other Keywee customers in the segment include: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Conde Nast, National Geographic, The New York Times and Slate. In fact, seven out of the top 10 newspapers in the United States now use Keywee. In addition, leading retailers and brands also tap Keywee for their content marketing initiatives.

“At New York Media, we leverage platforms like Facebook for content distribution and strive to reach new audiences and maximize our social engagement,” said Ken Sheldon, executive director of audience development at New York Media. “Keywee has allowed us to better achieve our goals in these areas more cost-effectively and efficiently than we could ourselves.”

Content distributed by Keywee accounts for more than 600 million impressions a month and delivers around an eight percent click-through rate (CTR) — approximately four times higher than the organic CTR of the same content. Using text-mining technology and a vast database of historical content performance to target — and distribute content to — audiences on platforms like Facebook, Keywee is changing how publishers leverage content to achieve business goals. Keywee’s content marketing platform helps publishers grow their audience, increase social engagement and sign up more subscribers.

“There are significant shifts occurring in content marketing. In particular, the majority of content is being consumed in the mobile apps of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google. They are the new browsers. Publishers realize this, and they are making big investments to get their content in front of audiences across these platforms to drive business results,” said Yaniv Makover, CEO and co-founder of Keywee. “Keywee leverages data to find the best audiences across these platforms for content based on a publisher’s specific business objectives.”

From the Blog

Rising to the Paywall Challenge

Paywalls are the digital version of the traditional newspaper subscription. Like most things digital, it introduces a new level of flexibility as well as complexity. But which paywall vendor should you choose? For most publishers, hiring an in-house team to build and maintain a paywall is cost-prohibitive. As paid subscriptions are taking a more significant part in most publishers’ revenue stream mix, we decided to lend a hand and share what we know. Below, we review the common types of paywalls and some of the things you should consider when choosing a paywall vendor. We also share a bit more information on a few select providers that some of our partners recommended when asked.


Types of Paywalls

What are the different types of paywalls out there? What are some of the advantages that they offer, and what should you keep in mind as a potential disadvantage? 

The Metered Paywall 

The metered paywall is one of the most popular types of paywalls. A user reads a certain amount of articles for free, usually per calendar month. After he or she reads more than the allotted amount, the paywall locks the content, and the publication offers a subscription plan to the reader. Each media outlet will provide a different amount of free articles, but five or fewer tends to be the norm.

The metered paywall helps create habitual readers who return to the site and read the site’s content, even before they’ve subscribed. On the other hand, not only is measuring and optimizing paid campaigns for metered paywalls hard, but Google threw another wrench in publishers’ wheels: the Chrome 76 update has introduced new ways for readers to get around the paywall.

The Hard Paywall

The publisher is blocking all content unless the user subscribed or logged in. It’s relatively easy to implement, track, and measure but requires a shift in mindset. The vast majority of traffic won’t convert, so a publisher can’t expect to see high traffic volumes. The hard paywall creates a significant barrier for entry, so this method works best when the site offers premium and high-value content. 

Premium Tires/Freemium Content

The publisher breaks its content into different tiers and grants free access to some and blocks others. This type of paywall tries to balance the volume of traffic to free content with value to subscribers in blocked articles. This method can work with a metered paywall and allow for free content along with a specific amount of premium articles per month. One of the biggest challenges is to decide which content will be behind a paywall and the balance between free and blocked content on the site. The blocked content can also be site features such as searching the archive or whole sections, such as opinions, as well as individual articles.


Recommended Requirements from Your Paywall

  • Your paywall shouldn’t serve premium content to readers” browsers at all unless authenticated. E.g., it doesn’t rely on some easily defeated methods like using Javascript to conceal on-page content.
  • Some paywalls offer more flexibility in implementation, while others require the vendor’s team to review your desired changes. Decide where you want to be on the flexible (and resource-heavy) to structured (but less agile) spectrum.
  • Depending on how you build your subscription plan, the same paywall vendor should support free/premium access on both the individual item level and site feature. For example, a subscription is required to read an article or to access an area of the site, such as the comments section.
  • Your paywall shouldn’t harm you. If it prevents crawlers from indexing your page and hurts your SEO efforts or gives away your premium content, it’s not doing a proper job.
  • Data and Statistics – does your chosen tool allow you to analyze all the data you need and make decisions based on numbers? Do you need access to raw data? Do you want API access? These are points to consider when deciding on your vendor of choice.  


Paywall Service Providers



  • Pico is a paywall provider that supports multiple goals and businesses. They support both newsletter and paid subscriptions, as well as eCommerce and donation funnels. 
  • Pico offers a tiered pricing model that depends on how many records (subscribers) you will collect with them. It’s free for the first 500 users so that one might consider it as a free trial. On top of that, they charge a 2-5 percent fee on transactions. You can calculate how much their solution would cost you in advance on their pricing page.
  • One of the up-sides – they offer free assistance with migrating from your current provider. Among their existing clients, you can find VinePair, Block Club Chicago, and the Colorado Sun.


  • The company offers a broad suite of functions to support marketers (and mostly content marketers) at almost every aspect of their audience communication and message personalization. Their service extends beyond the paywall and includes content recommendations, retargeting cart abandonments, defeating ad blockers, message personalization, and much more. 
  • Piano’s pricing isn’t publicly listed and dependent on the business and its needs. The large amount of top-tier publishers who use their services implies it’s priced to match their promised capabilities. 
  • Some publishers using Piano: Business Insider, Tech Crunch, AdAge, Conde Nast, Hearst. 


  • Zuora offers publishers a range of services that extend beyond the paywall, and much like Piano, it’s a heavyweight and powerful tool. Zuora lets publishers implement various monetization models, including pay-per-article or standard rates. The platform provides an analytics dashboard and includes international billing management that complies with different tax laws and deals with multiple currencies. 
  • Pricing: Zuora’s pricing is not publicly available and is customized for the client and their needs. Zuora does offer a free trial.
  • Publishers using Zuora: Financial Times, The Guardian, The Seattle Times


  • Pelcro offers an out-of-the-box paywall solution that is easy to set up. They support both metered paywalls and hard paywalls and provide a dynamic A/B testing of the paywall as part of the professional package. The analytics offered by Pelcro help publishers get another layer of data on their subscribers and include a churn score to help publishers act proactively before a reader unsubscribes. 
  • Pricing: They offer a multi-tiered pricing model based on the publisher’s needs. 7-day free trial. Starter ($99), Advanced ($450), Professional ($800), and Custom solutions
  • Publishers using Pelcro: Newsweek, Voice Media Group, Arkansas Times, Suffolk Times, Houston Herald 

Pigeon Paywall Plugin 

  • Pigeon is a paywall plugin that’s designed for quick implementation and flexible operations. It works with your existing website and is operational quickly after adding a few lines of code to your CMS.
  • The pricing structure is relatively straightforward with a one time fee for implementation and training starting at $1,500, then a flat monthly fee starting at $99 and a 10% fee on online subscription sales (1% for sales of print+digital paid online).
  • Some of the publishers using Pigeon Paywall Plugin are The Herald, Vigo, The Art of Eating. 


Media Pass

  • MediaPass is a paywall vendor that offers both freemium and metered paywalls. On top of that, they offer A/B testing of the paywall, ad blocking protection, and quick implementation with just one line of code. MediaPass’ service also includes a lot of the “behind the scenes” work, including monthly billing, publisher support, customization, back-end database management, PCI compliance, and upkeep.
  • Pricing: MediaPass takes an undisclosed percentage of the total subscription revenue a publisher makes with them.
  • Clients: Ogden newspapers Inc., CBS Media, GateHouse Media

If you’re using these or other paywall providers and would like to share some positive feedback, we’d love to hear it! Please email info [at] keywee [dot] co, or reach out to me on Linkedin and I’ll be happy to chat and share your thoughts on the topic.

The Role of Publishers in Times of Crisis

How Do Publishers Step Up During Times of Crisis?

“Journalism’s most critical role in a crisis is to provide information people need to make decisions for the safety of family and community. That is our mission.”

That quote comes from a Tweet by Kristin Roberts, Vice President of News for McClatchy. Although the Tweet specifically refers to the role of journalism during a crisis, it’s not difficult to see how a decidedly similar, if not the same sentiment can be extended to the broader publishing community during trying times as well. Whatever the circumstances may be, when the public faces a crisis, we turn to publishers as our trusted sources of information.

Recently, this notion has become even more evident. In the midst of a global health crisis, publishers and journalists have done a skillful job reporting on a rapidly-evolving, complex story in near real-time. These efforts have not only provided the public with vital information, but they’ve also helped to curb the spread of misinformation and the negative effects that are associated with it. 

For these reasons and more, it’s important to acknowledge the hard work that publishers invest into cultivating trust within their readers, and to shine a light on its undeniable value — including in times of crisis.


Vital Coverage in Uncertain Times

During times when the public is feeling uncertain or anxious, publishers have a reputation for stepping up and providing reliable, essential information. For some, it’s a privilege that has been earned over decades. The New York Times, for example, has a legacy that spans nearly 170 years. That said, it doesn’t take over a century and a half to nurture this kind of relationship; audiences are more than willing to develop loyal relationships with publishers of virtually any age, just so long as they consistently report on verifiable facts without conjecture or unfounded speculation.

One can argue that this special brand of publisher-audience trust is similar to the rapport that many have with close friends and family: at the end of the day, those closest to you would rather tell you the truth or give genuine advice than lead you astray. Granted, they may not necessarily tell you what you want to hear in any given moment, but there tends to be an added layer of assurance that comes with receiving news from a trusted (and when needed, critical) source. Publishers, and especially news publishers, provide solace in much the same way. 


Fighting the Spread of Misinformation

One can also argue that publishers have a responsibility to exert their influence during uncertain times. Given the access that many have to their own trusted sources, publishers can communicate the most accurate information possible. In tough situations, it’s often also on publishers to report on and communicate the gravity of any urgent situation. This helps to set a barometer for public response, and is particularly important as the news cycle moves forward.

Understandably, this relationship becomes significantly more important when audiences need immediate access to the most up-to-date, accurate information available. It’s in these situations that publishers truly excel and bend toward the greater good. For example, breaking news publishers like The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal have removed their paywalls to allow public access to their recent reporting. 


In Closing

It goes without saying that publishers cover other topics than breaking news, and during uncertain times, all forms of content serve an important purpose. 

Moreover, it’s during uncertain times that we acknowledge that the relationships between publishers and their audiences are more important than ever. From our vantage point, these relationships have strengthened and become more reciprocal: as storytellers continue to invest in producing content, audiences have been eager to invest. 

Facebook’s Ad Policy 102

We know that one of the more time-consuming aspects of running Facebook campaigns is making the creatives. You have to make sure that your message is on-brand, concise with a clear call to action, and get approval from oh-so many stake-holders. We’ve also seen firsthand how tricky it can be to do all of that and remain compliant with Facebook’s content policy

Consider this post as the expansion pack or director’s cut of our previous policy 101 blog post. We’re going to go over a few other common Facebook ad disapproval reasons, look into a few reasons that might surprise you and shed some light on things you’ve seen for yourself and couldn’t explain. We’ve also put a small quiz at the end, just so you can brag about your score. 

Important Disclaimer: The information in this blog post should be viewed as recommendations for best practices based on our (rather extensive) experience, it should not be seen as an official Facebook content moderation policy. For the latest guidelines, we recommend consulting the websites for Facebook Policies and Community Standards.

Deceptive claims

Starting off with a seemingly easy one. Avoiding deceptive claims should be easy, and easy to spot. It’s pretty clear, for example, that “Our New Fuse Box Saves Homeowners a Fortune in Electricity Costs” could be labeled as misleading. Any claim should be adequately substantiated and shouldn’t set unrealistic expectations for users. In this case, no company could really prove that it saves a fortune for ALL of its customers. 


Ads promoting dating apps are not prohibited. They are, however, susceptible to very strict rules regarding both the audience targeting and the creative of the ad. On top of that, you have to get pre-approval to run ads as a Facebook’s dating partner (begin your application process here.) Such strict oversight can, and does, create false positives and get legitimate ads disqualified. To avoid spending a lot of time appealing your ads, you can take the safe approach and avoid mentioning ‘dates’ and variations of that the word specifically if you can. 

User Certification

The user certification disapproval isn’t a policy issue per se, and it can be easily resolved with a few clicks of a button. We’re adding it to our review for two reasons: 

  • We see it so often in an average week. In fact, 33% of our disapproved ads in an average week are because of this one reason, but, to toot our own horn, it could be because we are so good at avoiding disapprovals at this stage. 
  • It’s almost unavoidable, even if you get everything right. It’s a proactive move by Facebook to assure that you comply with their policies,  sort of like an “I read and accept the terms and conditions” checkup.

So, we recommend that you stay on top of the notifications that you get from Facebook in your ads manager. Yes, this can be a struggle for large companies and agencies. If you want to read more about this, check out what Facebook has to say here.

Landing Pages

We’ve touched on landing pages in our previous post, but we focused on ads to content ratio. There are some other things that can cause your ads to get disapproved by Facebook’s AI:

  • 404 errors / unable to load the page error. 
  • The page initiates a file to auto-download.
  • The page is marked by a third-party service as abusive or containing malware. 

If you’re sure that your page works fine and doesn’t risk the user experience Facebook is aiming to maintain, you should appeal the disapproval. If by accident your link was broken or your site wasn’t loading properly, you can’t appeal and you’ll have to fix the issue and create a new ad. 

Take note that all of Facebook’s policies should be regarded as applying to your landing page. If your landing page has nudity, profanity, or prohibited items such as guns and ammo for sale (or even if they’re only included in your ads), your ad might be rejected by Facebook regardless of whether it’s compliant. 

Now that we’ve covered all of the basics, let’s see how well you score.

About the Author: