Announcement

Keywee Now Publishes to Instagram

Keywee Now Publishes to Instagram

We Now Offer Our Audience-Targeting Capabilities for Instagram Ads

We’re pleased to announce that our customers can now take advantage of Keywee’s innovative audience-targeting capabilities to share their stories as paid posts on Instagram and drive high-performing traffic to their website. With a community of more than 400 million users, Instagram is one of the world’s largest mobile ad platforms. Last year’s addition of direct-response buttons, such as “Learn More,” to its ad format made the platform even more compelling to publishers and content marketers. These buttons can link to a particular webpage, like an article, and drive action to meet specific business goals such as subscriptions, newsletter signups or audience development. Our customers, including some of the top publishers in the world, wanted Instagram support. Now they have it!

So, How Does it Work?

Keywee now does the same thing for Instagram that it has done successfully for other platforms such as Facebook and Yahoo. Specifically, Keywee:

  1. Uses natural-language processing to scan content and understand what it is about.
  2. Employs its vast database of historical performance to target audiences that have been shown to act on different types of content.
  3. Automatically generates numerous variations of paid posts, with optimized bids for each selected audience.
  4. Provides insight into how the paid posts are performing with their targeted audiences, across platforms.

We’re excited to continue to grow in line with our customers’ needs!

From the Blog

The Keywee Facebook CPC Tracker: May Update

We launched The Keywee Facebook CPC Tracker to help content creators understand how changes to the Facebook platform affect their daily work. The findings are based on our analysis of data from hundreds of publishers.

Each month we release new data along with relevant insights on content distribution. You can sign up for monthly updates straight to your inbox here and read past months’ updates here.

May Recap

A recent survey by Digiday found that 70% of publishers think Facebook is the channel that delivers the best reach for their content. But while publishers have been turning to Facebook for their content distribution efforts for years, recently, the goals behind the spend have changed. We’ve seen publishers continue to diversify their revenue and double down on new channels that are working.

For example, last year Slate invested resources in its audio department as a way to drive revenue from both advertising and memberships. Now, thanks to that growth, the team is forecasting that podcasts will drive nearly half of its revenue this year (up from 28% in 2018). Similarly, 55% of Barstool Sports’ revenue comes from advertising, and a significant part of that is generated by its 25 branded podcasts.

Many publishers are expanding their efforts in the e-commerce and affiliate revenue sphere. BuzzFeed is expanding its U.K strategy largely through commerce related advertising, and New York Post, after seeing success with affiliate content, will launch a dedicated commerce content section later this year, akin to New York Media’s The Strategist. This expansion is good news for Amazon, who publishers usually partner with; Amazon may even pay some publishers to expand their affiliate content efforts internationally.  
Meanwhile, some brands are going beyond the classic affiliate link strategy. In addition to a substantial content strategy, streetwear publisher Highsnobiety is selling products directly, in partnership with well-known brands. Conde Nast launched an advertising program with commerce-enabled ad units, which come with sales guarantees provided you hit a certain budget threshold. NBCUniversal is thinking past just websites, with its new feature ShoppableTV, which displays QR codes on TV shows that take viewers directly to the e-commerce sites of products they see on screen.

Video content has also seen a resurgence since the fall of the infamous “pivot to video” of 2015. This time, with publishers focusing on long form content and wide distribution. Vox Media is making a dozen long-form video series for streaming platforms and TV networks this year. BuzzFeed is joining in on the fun too; it will produce 20 episodic video shows this year to distribute across Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. By the end of this year, TicToc, Bloomberg’s 24/7 news brand, will have a presence on OTT streaming services as well. According to Jean Ellen Cowgill, General Manager at TicToc, “if you look at the projection for the OTT ad market, the writing on the wall is pretty clear. There’s a lot of competition because it’s the next big explosion, we want to be part of that.”

Well-established publishers have the benefit of their own streaming services. CBSN, the free streaming video news network from CBS News, is now averaging over 1 million video streams per day, most of those for live content. And NBC recently launched a digital streaming news network with the goal of capturing the attention of younger news consumers. But for everyone else, platforms play a key role in video distribution. Luckily, recent changes have made it easier for publishers to succeed with long-form video content. Facebook will be giving more weight in the News Feed to videos based on their originality as well as viewing durations, and Instagram will open up IGTV to horizontal videos, making it easier for video creators to experiment on the platform.

 

Of course, publishers are also focusing on the foundation of the industry: reader revenue. For many, this means launching a paywall for the first time. Quartz recently announced it will be putting all of its articles behind a metered paywall that will allow readers 10 free articles per month. Fortune magazine also announced plans for a paywall, which is expected to be implemented toward the end of 2019. Publishers who have recently implemented their paywalls have shared success stories. Wired.com has grown its subscriber base by nearly 300 percent, seeing a lot of success converting its newsletter subscribers in particular. The Daily Beast shared that, in addition to seeing success from a volume perspective, the team has seen members spend 21% more time on site.

Others, who have had subscription or membership programs for a while, have focused on growing those revenues. The Virginian Pilot has shifted its newsroom’s focus, excluding a print goal for the first time in its 154 year history. Instead, they took a closer look at their digital audience and used that data to guide their journalism moving forward. News Corp Australia recently announced that it passed the 500,000 paid digital subscribers milestone, 8 years after turning on a paywall. They’re seeing great success with subscriptions that include local content. The Guardian has fought to keep its membership model, asking readers for donations rather than putting up a hard paywall. This year, the company announced its first operating profit in two decades. News UK has put resources behind their retention efforts, developing a “digital butler” that sends subscribers the content they’re most likely to be interested in, in their preferred format, at the time they’re most likely to read it.

 

May Data

In May, we saw a small decrease in average CPC across all publishers and all use cases. Individual publishers generally saw a small deviation from their April CPCs in either direction. That is to say, while some publishers saw a small increase and some saw a small decrease, in general, prices were relatively stable. Given the recent fluctuations in platform pricing, this was an excellent opportunity for many publishers to scale their content distribution efforts at a lower-than-expected cost.  

A Revenue Opportunity

As we’ve discussed in the past, despite an increasingly diversified revenue portfolio, many publishers still rely on advertising to generate a piece of their revenue pie. To grow that business channel, teams focus their content distribution efforts around same-session profitability. In other words, they’re spending in such a way that the ad revenue from driving traffic is greater than the traffic acquisition cost.

In May, we saw many publishers who use this strategy increasing their spend, likely due to lower-than-expected prices. This means that they were able to profitably bring in new audiences . Given that advertising RPMs will likely increase in June, we expect this increased spend trend to continue into next month, even if distribution prices increase.

Typically, June is an important month for businesses that rely on advertising revenues. It’s the end of a quarter, and the last month before the infamous summer slump when advertiser demand is much lower. Based on data from Ezoic’s ad revenue index, RPMs in June are typically the highest all year, outside of Q4. This makes it a crucial month for the health of a publisher’s advertising business. Consider it a practice run for the holiday season.

Taking Ownership

On the opposite side of the revenue spectrum, we’ve seen a lot of publishers increase their focus on owning their audiences. Rather than try to optimize a single user session, they’re hoping to acquire new users who return on their own organically in the future. As Chris Talyor, CIO of Telegraph Media said recently, “Now, we are much more interested in the identified scale rather than the anonymous scale, or in registered users. This is not a new idea but is becoming increasingly important.”

Perhaps for this reason, we’ve seen a steady increase in publishers spending to acquire new email subscribers. Acquiring a newsletter subscriber costs money upfront, but continues to pay dividends since newsletter subscribers return often for a low (or no) cost. If you’re interested in running this type of paid campaign, read our recent post, 6 Tips for Acquiring High Value Newsletter Subscribers, for tips and best practices.

 

To sign up for future CPC updates, fill out the form below:

 

About Keywee

At Keywee, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Keywee’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Keywee is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.

[Storytellers Interview | The Studio @ The Knot Worldwide] “We believe in the power of brand-funded content to change people’s lives”

Here at Keywee, we’re privileged to work with hundreds of the world’s leading storytellers. As a way to share some of their expert insights with the greater publishing community, we created The Storytellers: an interview series where we speak with some of the most accomplished thought leaders from across the industry (including Keywee customers and friends like Thrive Global, Kiplinger, and Complex).

For this installment of the series, we spoke with Nick Fortunato, Vice President, Custom Content and Head of Studio @ The Knot Worldwide, owner of The Knot, WeddingWire, The Bump and other lifestage brands. Having worked in branded content for over 15 years, Nick has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the space. In our interview, we discussed how he built and shaped The Studio @ The Knot Worldwide, what advice he would give to publishers considering opening a branded content studio, how the branded content landscape has changed over the years, and much more.

Below is our conversation with Nick.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to The Knot Worldwide?

I had an artistic career for a long time. At some point I decided that I needed to get a day job, so I said to myself, “What’s the best way I can use my technical and creative skills?” I landed on advertising, and I ended up going to work for a company called Heavy.com. There, I was able to create a bunch of really interesting and amazing integrated campaigns for advertisers.

From there I went to Dailymotion, which was the second largest video platform in the world at the time. I built Dailymotion’s original content division as well as its branded content studio.

About four years ago I came here to The Knot Worldwide, which was XO Group at the time. Branded content wasn’t something they had really invested in yet, and I took on the challenge to help them build it out.

You have twenty or so people working at The Studio @ The Knot Worldwide. What can you tell us about the team? Is there anything unique about how it’s structured?

The Studio has three pillars. The first is the sales development and marketing team that proactively talks to clients and generates ideas. The second is the production team that’s led by an executive producer. The third pillar is set up like a traditional editorial team but smaller, where we have an editor-in-chief and a mini editorial department.

When I was in talks to come work here, the sales development and marketing team sat separately from the editorial team. The editors, who came from a traditional editorial background, weren’t very comfortable creating sales content. And the sales development team was pitching big and wild ideas, but didn’t really understand the complexities of execution.

When I came in, my pitch was, “Let’s bring these two teams together. Let’s bring together the people who are pitching ideas with the people who are going to make the ideas happen. Let’s teach the sales team what it takes to execute a campaign, and let’s teach the team who executes the campaigns what sales is all about.”

Do you think having your team structured this way gives you an advantage?

I do. What’s advantageous about the way that we’re set up is that the entire lifecycle of an idea lives within this one group. We’re not handing it off for someone else to figure out. The people that pitched it and sold it have already been collaborating with the people who now have to go make the idea a reality.

That sounds like a good way to avoid situations where you wind up overpromising and underdelivering.

Exactly. I think the biggest part of my job is managing a client’s expectations, so that once we get to the finish line with them, they know what they’re getting and they’re excited about it.

You never want to promise something that you can’t deliver to your client or to your audience.

You’ve said that you like “bringing creative people together and pushing them to take something great and turn it into something amazing.” Can you give an example of how you took a project to the next level in that sense?

Sure. I’ll use a recent partnership with Olay and Procter & Gamble as an example. We had a couple of meetings with them where they looked at our work, met our creative team, talked over some ideas, and then we sat down together and wrote a brief. It was one of those experiences where the meeting goes exactly the way you want it to go: you’re brought in early in the process and you’re collaborating from the foundation on the idea.

A big part of my job is making sure the right people are in the room. I look at myself as not being the only guy with good ideas but being the person who has the experience and instinct to know when the right idea bubbles up. Good ideas can come from anywhere, which is exactly why we are structured the way we are. In this case, we were working with a client who was also very creative and had a lot of great ideas. We all pushed each other and made something we’ve all been very proud of this past year.

What was the project?

The project involved social, editorial, and a photo shoot, but at the core of the campaign was a video asset. It was a three-minute, short-form video that we created where we surprised three brides-to-be with a bridal photo shoot, but not an ordinary bridal photo shoot – this one was going to be on top of a glacier in Iceland. We brought them into our office and gave them a gift box that had Olay cream and a ticket to Iceland. We said, “We want you to take the Olay 28 Day Challenge. Take the next 28 days to get your skin ready, and then we’ll see you again in Iceland for your photo shoot.”

It was a really empowering piece of content. These three women went on a journey that they weren’t expecting to go on, and they learned about themselves and about each other along the way. We got them feeling great about their skin and super excited for the biggest day of their lives.

You’ve been in the industry for over 15 years. How has the branded content space changed during that time? Have you seen any overarching industry trends in the past few years or so?

It’s changed a lot. I don’t want to say whether it’s changed for the better or worse. There’s a lot less risk in what the industry is making now, and we have more partners asking for guarantees. Being creative, making noise, or doing something that’s seen by a lot of people just isn’t enough anymore. It has to be measurable. It has to be attributable. It has to be convertible. In a way, the art of branded content has become the science – how media plans are put together and how content is distributed is the art instead of the creative.

We’re living in such a data-driven environment where everything must be accounted for, meaning big ideas are definitely not enough anymore. Sometimes big ideas get pushed aside and that’s not awesome. What is awesome is that everyone’s thinking about being more efficient with the way that dollars are spent.

Everyone’s thinking about better ways to achieve the partner’s end goal. It’s changed in that we’re not just thinking about what we’re making, but how it’s living and being delivered, too.

Brand safety is something that has changed as well. When we talk about brand safety, it’s not just about being adjacent to questionable content or a sensitive subject matter. Now, brand safety also means privacy, which is something that we’re very concerned about here at The Knot Worldwide. For the most part, we’re a logged-in experience when people are planning their lives with our tools. We reach about one in four millennial women online across the entire internet in the U.S., even more now globally as The Knot Worldwide. Every day they’re coming to our site and planning their lives. We take information that they share with us very seriously and we hold it very safely. Privacy, for us, is our brand safety concern, which is probably very different from other people’s brand safety concerns.

As someone who has launched more than one branded content studio in his career, what would you say are the most challenging aspects of building one?

The economics have always been challenging. The margins aren’t as great as they are with, say, a programmatic ad buy, but what we’re able to do is different. We can connect with an audience in an emotional way through content. We can tell a brand story in a way that a lot of bigger companies can’t because they often rely too heavily on data to target audiences.

For us, we deal with the biggest days in a person’s life. Their first home, their first baby, their first marriage. When we can create a piece of content that solves a real problem they are having or puts their mind at ease, we are changing their lives for the better. And when a brand is in the middle of that conversation in a meaningful way it is very powerful.

Scaling can also be difficult. With branded content studios, you want to reach a sweet spot where you’re able to create content that has value and is premium enough, while still getting a return on your investment.

Another challenge is the idea of ownership. At the end of the day, it’s brand-funded content. It’s initiated by a brand making an investment to reach an audience in a certain way. You’re creating something for the brand but you’re also creating something for the audience. The content used to stay with the publisher, but now more and more brands are asking for ownership which, quite frankly, creates complications in terms of needing to keep costs down. When you keep costs down, sometimes quality can suffer. That’s just an honest challenge that I think everybody in the industry is facing.

What advice would you give a publisher looking to start driving revenue via custom content?

My advice would be to understand your audience, figure out what’s important to them, and find partners that are aligned with that and want to deliver a message that’s valuable to your audience. That’s the only way you’re going to succeed. If you’re going to take money and create content because someone asked you to, you might as well just be a creative commercial shop. You’re probably not in the right business of being a branded content studio.

You need to really take a good look at your audience, create value for them, and do that in partnership with the brand that wants to do that as well.

In your own words, what unique value does The Studio @ The Knot Worldwide offer to brand partners?

A lot of what makes us different is our emotional storytelling, but by “emotional,” I don’t mean sad. Emotions can be happy. We’re dealing with people in moments of their life that are highly emotionally charged. What we’re able to do when our audience is in this emotionally charged state is tell a brand story in that moment. We’re celebrating these people’s biggest life moments and we’re able to connect with them through our custom content and through our brand content. By doing that, we’re able to influence their purchasing decisions that are happening now, as well as influence brand loyalties that are starting to develop and will last for the rest of the audience’s lives, really.

That kind of emotional connection and storytelling is something that’s unique to us. It makes sense for our platform. It’s not hollow and artificial, it’s authentic. We’re telling our audience’s story every day and we’re doing that in partnership with a brand. That’s extremely powerful, and it gets us excited to come to work every morning.

You make custom content for a variety of properties: The Knot, The Bump, The Nest. Do you approach campaigns differently based on which property and advertiser you’re working with?

For us, at the end of the day, it’s about connecting. We believe in the power of content to connect a brand with an audience and to help change their lives. It may sound silly, but it’s true.

People come to us with questions about important things, like “is this thing my baby is doing normal?” and we’re able to help them figure things out.

When you can do that, it’s sort of beyond advertising. It’s something that impacts people’s lives, and that’s pretty awesome.

That is awesome. You’re obviously the authority in these categories, too.

We’re an authority, but the way that we’re an authority is different. Our approach is much more about telling real people’s stories instead of telling our audience what to do. There is no right way to have a wedding. There’s no right way to raise a baby. The only “right way” is the one that’s right for you.

Ultimately, we want to connect our audience with people that have been on these journeys before – people that they can identify with rather than hearing an editorial voice from the top down telling them that they need to have their wedding a certain way otherwise they’re not “cool.”

One of the topics we keep hearing about is the use of influencers to extend campaign reach and boost engagement. I know that you work with some influencers. What value do you think influencers bring to the table?

“Influencer” has become a bad word lately, but I can tell you that we work with influencers both on the branded content side and on the editorial side.

On the editorial side, we have a really exciting program where we’re tracking 25 influencers and their wedding planning progress over the next year. Again, it’s a way for us to editorially expand our lens and expand our audience through these people that are going through one of our biggest life stages.

On the branded content side, we use influencers to not only create content for us and for our brands, but also to help with the distribution of content that we’re producing.

That definitely all makes sense. Do you have any advice for publishers looking to work with influencers?

You can get a lot of value out of influencers that are passionate about their areas of interest. We don’t look to engage influencers just because they have a high follower count.

For example, we found this great influencer who became a first-time mom. She had a difficult pregnancy and she wanted to share her story. If she’s willing to help us tell a story that parallels her story, or she feels would resonate with her audience, that’s a great influencer. She might not have half a million followers, but that’s okay because those 100,000 or 50,000 followers that she does have are actually listening.

Can you tell us about any exciting campaigns that your team has worked on recently?

There are a couple that I think were awesome for different reasons. The Olay one that we talked about earlier is one of them. It started as a creative conversation, which was fun. If you watch the content, it was very much bringing our two brands together. It was about The Knot and Olay connecting and sharing the best of both. I love that one.

I also love the work that we did with Ally Bank this past year tailored to millennials. It was a massive, year-long campaign that included 21 pieces of original digestible-actionable-informational-financial content, strategically linked across all of our sites. Each site, The Knot, The Nest, The Bump, had custom editorial, infographics, and social videos. It’s a lot of fun when we’re able to play in a bigger sandbox and create these huge, effective campaigns.

What are some of the media companies/brands that you think are doing interesting or innovative stuff in the branded content space?

I always love to see what the National Geographic team is doing. They’re able to tell really, really great stories around big achievements and inspiring life moments. Everything those guys do is super premium and awesome.

For a different reason, I love the studio group at The Onion, Onion Labs. I love the work that they do – the risks that they take and their ability to convince brands to take those risks with them. It reminds me a lot of the work that we used to do at Heavy.com, so I really appreciate the challenge and their execution.

Last, but not least: you’ve been working with Keywee for a while, can you tell us a bit about your experience?

For us, our primary target is to get people to interact with our experiences and tools, but we know that we have to reach them wherever they are. So for us, it’s important to leverage the tools that can help us get in front of our audience in a more effective way, like Keywee.

 

* * *

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Nick! We look forward to seeing many more fresh and innovative branded content campaigns from The Studio @ The Knot Worldwide.

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About Keywee

At Keywee, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Keywee’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Keywee is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.

3 Data-Driven Trends We Talked About at Keywee’s Digital Publishing Breakfast

Last week, we hosted some of NYC’s finest digital publishing leaders as part of our ongoing efforts to bring together the NYC digital media and marketing community. We host events like this about once a quarter, with the goal of facilitating educational, informative, and entertaining discussions among peers.

We had a great morning of small-group conversations (and delicious pastries) with Keywee customers and friends from The Guardian, NerdWallet, Philadelphia Media Network, Fatherly, The New York Daily News, Forbes, and more.

The morning focused on “The Evolving Role of Data in Storytelling.” We explored the effects of data on a variety of areas, including audience targeting, branded content, user retention, and creative strategy. Our conversations spanned a wide range of topics, but here are three interesting takeaways from the morning:

1. Engagement is more important than ever

Many people mentioned an evolution in metrics. Whereas they used to look toward sessions or page views to measure engagement, their teams now measured their success against metrics like time on site, scroll depth, and content completion rates. These metrics focus less on the revenue produced in one session, and instead on the long-term value of a reader based on their engagement level.

2. The home page makes a comeback

With the rise of distributed content, many people declared the death of the publisher home page. While home pages may never be the heavyweight they used to be, they have made a comeback, once again playing an important role in publisher’s strategies. Users who come directly to the home page or use the site’s search bar tend to be very high-intent. These users are most likely to return on their own organically and even pay for a subscription, so many publishers are finding ways to roll out the red carpet for them.

3. Data is being used across business functions

Historically data may have lived in silos, but today, teams across the company are leveraging data to be better at their jobs. Even editorial teams, which have typically relied on art rather than science, are warming up to the use of data for planning and strategy.


If you’re interested in attending one of our next events, fill in the form below and we’ll keep you posted.


About Keywee

At Keywee, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Keywee’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Keywee is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.

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