Nikita Mishra
Sep 16, 2022

Outbrain launches optimisation offering for publishers

Keystone uses proprietary bidding and optimization AI technology to generate revenue streams beyond advertising.

Outbrain launches optimisation offering for publishers

Outbrain, a recommendation platform for the open web, has officially released Keystone by Outbrain.

Keystone is described as a holistic business optimisation technology built to align a publisher’s complete set of business initiatives with a more bespoke experience for audiences.

Besides driving ad revenue, Keystone applies Outbrain’s proprietary bidding and optimisation AI technologies to integrate every revenue-generating facet of a publisher’s site, including subscriptions, ecommerce, and any other business goal unique to each publisher. Keystone was unveiled earlier this week to a select group of publishers during Outbrain’s 'The Future of Media' summit.

For readers unfamiliar with Outbrain, the adtech company provides recommendation widgets on popular news sites such as CNN and Washington Post that feature sponsored links leading to third-party websites. In July 2021, after a year of growth with publishers, Outbrain bolstered its Asia-Pacific team with a string of eight new hires across Singapore and ANZ markets. Later that month, the New York-based company raised US$200 million in funding—before going public on the New York Stock Exchange.

More recently, the company published its second-quarter revenue which increased to US$250.9 million, compared to US$247.2.

Outbrain co-founder and co-CEO, Yaron Galai, commented: “For over 15 years, we’ve worked side-by-side with publishers to help them drive revenue through advertising. This has given us insight into the opportunities and challenges they face as they continue to optimise the user journey while balancing business initiatives and revenue diversification.

“Keystone is a technology that publishers can rely on to make the most of audiences’ digital experiences while preserving quality editorial content. The anticipated result is a tailored user experience supporting a more diversified revenue mix that positions our media partners for future growth.”

Keystone was unveiled during Outbrain’s “The Future of Media” summit

While Outbrain’s current recommendation technology provided nearly $745 million in direct payments to Outbrain’s media partners in 2021 alone, Keystone is expected to help media owners increase their earnings by providing a more customised experience for readers across all properties and initiatives. The technology utilises Outbrain’s AI conversion prediction engine to create dynamic user segmentation, and the Keystone dashboard provides full transparency and a unified view of business initiatives to monitor and report on KPIs, inform strategies, and gather insights in real-time.

Outbrain managing director, APAC, and growth markets (India, China, Brazil), Andrew Burke, noted: “With Keystone, publishers will be able to revolutionise the way they connect with their readers, providing a whole new level of engagement. This new tool has great potential, and we’re excited to offer it to audiences in our region.”

General manager of Keystone and VP, of products of Outbrain, Amit Elisha said: “With publisher ad revenues under pressure, static experiences across all touchpoints are causing them to leave money on the table. Providing a more tailored experience for readers by understanding their intent will create loyalty, ultimately driving repeat visits and increasing the value of a publisher’s business.”

Keystone currently has four design partners including a large US news publisher and a European financial publisher. Early results have shown that one placement on a home page, optimised for multiple campaigns with Keystone, can lead to a 30 to 50% increase in user engagement for those placements. Pricing is based on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to enable publishers to deploy the Keystone platform with full flexibility, regardless of whether they’re integrated with Outbrain’s core content recommendation products.

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