Outbrain Unveils Keystone: New Optimization Platform for Publishers

For years, advertising has been the primary revenue stream for the digital publishing industry. However, with the imminent loss of third party cookies, the rise of programmatic and affiliate advertising, and the promise of subscription growth, publishers have needed to adapt their revenue models at speed. 

Capitalizing on these new revenue streams has brought some challenges, as these initiatives and the teams that support them pursue competing KPIs, often in silos. The impact of siloed departments has resulted in internal competition for site real estate, for technology support, for attribution, and the list goes on.

The Missed Opportunity In Digital Publishing

Publishers have the biggest asset – quality editorial content that people rely on for information, entertainment, and much more. But it is clear that publishers need more advanced tools to manage the increasing complexity of their businesses and understand their audience’s digital experiences. 

According to Digiday+ research, publishers are capitalizing on emerging revenue opportunities from  podcast subscriptions, e-commerce, and affiliate marketing. On a typical home page, editorial content shares prime real estate with these initiatives. That means every department is wrestling to have their offer pushed to the audience at the right time, sometimes flooding users with irrelevant content. These decisions are being made based on averages and past data, resulting in a web page that attempts to be a one-size-fits all content solution.

Introducing Keystone To Unlock Revenue Opportunities

Outbrain has been in this space for the last 15 years and after listening to our partners speak on the necessity of having a tool automating the arduous process to managing multiple revenue initiatives, we learned that for them, optimizing for multiple business goals is a massive puzzle.  The Keystone technology is the key to unlocking new revenue opportunities while increasing engagement. Now publishers can optimize every KPI through a completely new SaaS model and easy-to-manage self-serve platform. 

Keystone gives all business units in a media organization the ability to capitalize on the right reader opportunities. Decision-makers are supported by machine learning that optimizes when and where each business offer is served, based on consumer behavior and forecasted value.

How Keystone works

We took core elements of Outbrain’s technology for advertisers – such as AI-powered Conversion Bid Strategy, which automatically optimizes toward specific acquisition goals – and used them as a foundation for publishers to optimize revenue and conversion across diverse KPIs. 

Keystone uses hundreds of data signals in real time to predict the best outcome: time of day, device, browser, user preferences, and more. It also takes the guesswork out of optimization. Instead of trying to segment audiences, and relying on experimentation to see what will resonate with them, Keystone observes conversion behavior and uses that intelligence to optimize how offers are served in real time. 

Conversion Prediction-Engine

The conversion prediction-engine uses machine learning to create dynamic user-segmentation in real time, based on past actions and audience attributes such as device, browser, geography, and more. Keystone then allocates business offers (from subscription CTAs to podcast suggestions) to the users primed to engage with them, at the right moment – and in the right placement. 

The automated UI testing can A/B test different variations of font sizes or image dimensions, to find the right combinations for each user experience. Publishers can let the AI optimize for desired outcomes, without losing control of their content. Every journey is optimized at speed to provide the best revenue opportunities and reader experience. 

Easy to use self-serve platform

Using the Keystone platform is simple. The Keystone platform serves as publishers’ one-stop shop for a unified view of each business unit’s performance across their site. 

Publishers can create campaigns for their subscription, ecommerce, and email initiatives all in one place. Simply add the content and select from a wide range of delivery and optimization settings. Now business unit owners across the media outlet can upload multiple headlines, titles, images, copy, captions, and calls to action for their content into the Keystone platform and rely on our automatic machine learning engine to test all possible permutations. 

Keystone’s dashboard provides full transparency to monitor and report on KPIs, inform strategies, and gather insights providing a unified view at their fingertips.

The results

When Keystone is optimizing for total placement value, we’ve seen an average of 2-3 time lift results for that same placement compared to running through the CMS or Ad Server and an average 30%-50% lift in CTR. Knowing when to show these high value placements on your site more often will lead to higher overall revenue. That’s the keystone promise. 

The Missing Piece of the Publisher Puzzle

Technology cannot and should not replace what publishers and journalists do best. But we know that the right tools can make their job easier and go a long way toward generating sustainable revenue.Keystone is a SaaS model designed to support modern, diverse publisher businesses. It makes it possible to customize, optimize, and analyze the complete user experience. 

At Outbrain, our mission has always been to support publishers’ success, and we believe that requires tools that can keep pace with their rate of innovation. Keystone is the missing piece of the puzzle.

Discover more: https://keystone.outbrain.com/

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