What Outbrain's Revee Acquisition Means To Publishers

Outbrain, the content discovery platform, acquired analytics firm Revee in October and launched a new product called Automatic Yield in early March. Automatic Yield, a content recommendation tool, enables publishers to monetize audiences and offers a real-time understanding of content. The tool enables publishers to get a more accurate understanding of how much revenue individual pieces of content are generating in real-time.

But what is the tool’s benefit to publishers, and how are they using it? Outbrain says it's working with publishers that include Time Inc. properties like Fortune and Entertainment Weekly which began technology integrations about six weeks ago. The Outbrain Automatic Yield product integrates Revee's technology and connects with publishers' ad servers to provide data on which articles are earning the most money.

“Bringing programmatic technology to content is something that hasn’t been done before. Publishers are able to see revenue value from every piece of content in real time,” said Matt Crenshaw, VP of product marketing at Outbrain. Publishers are looking to maximize revenue for all their content, which can be a challenging mission.

Another spin on the offering: “No one is helping publishers do anything but squeeze pennies out of the waterfall,” said Outbrain head of global marketing Eric Hadley, adding, “This is an opportunity for publishers to own their own business.”

Outbrain is trying to help publishers monetize and preserve their business. The Revee technology enables publishers to determine what readers are most interested in. Think of it this way: A single piece of content may vary in value throughout the day. Programmatic enables publishers to look at real-time data in order to make the best decisions.

The Revee integration addresses the issue that publishers can’t generate revenue until a consumer visits a page and an ad loads. If the user never goes to that page, the revenue opportunity won't occur. “The biggest problem publishers have is how they drive users to the pages that are worth the most in real time. And they want to drive new unique visitors to their sites. Why spend money to acquire a visitor you already have?” Crenshaw explained.

So publishers can determine the value of the page and if they know the value of a certain page, the price of inventory can be dynamically adjusted. Essentially, it means that publishers are only placing bids when they’re going to yield positive ROI.

"By using Automatic Yield, we have been able to drive significant traffic to our highest-yielding content. This allows Time Inc. to secure the most interested audiences to engage meaningfully with our brands," said Andy Blau, senior vice president of advertising, Time Inc., via email. "After seeing the early data, Automatic Yield is proving to be an effective tactical approach to drive a highly engaged audience to our ultra-premium content.”

Using Automatic Yield, publishers can also maximize revenue and connect the content stack with the ad stack for the first time. “They can pass the data to the recommendation engine, so they’re always recommending content that’s relevant to their own sites and outside sites as well,” Crenshaw said.

Interestingly, Outbrain has found that the same stories on a Web page are 3x more valuable to publishers at noon vs. 6 p.m. based on the ad mix served to the page. Publishers using Automatic Yield can see a trend line on what their inventory is worth, and traffic is automatically driven to the pages that are worth the most.

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