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Snapshot of startups at Media Honeypot

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World News Publishing Focus
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Snapshot of startups at Media Honeypot

We spoke with a few of the startups that will be making their pitches at the Helsinki event next week to get a taste of what’s on offer.

Wondering how to be more streamlined in your sales process? How about keeping your readers on your site longer? Where to find the next viral story? And which readers are giving you the most money? Can you find social media content faster? That's what the following companies say they have cracked.

Pinpointing your customer big spenders

Never before have news organizations been bombarded with so many different metrics. So shouldn't there be a "simple" metric that allows publishers to know who are their most lucrative customers and gain insight into how they can leverage this crucial part of their business?

In today’s complex digital ad ecosystem, this could mean integrating 20-30 systems that have no common identifiers to pull together this vital information, said Gustav von Sydow, CEO of Burt, a data analytics consulting company.

“We need to understand the entire lifecycle of an ad, the link to individual views and session, page views and engagement – it’s a complicated problem that we are trying to solve,” said von Sydow.

Von Sydow said one client had to spend 250 hours a month to sift through data from 45 ad tech/programmatic vendors just to figure out how much they were making.

For the workflow and the custom-purpose applications that Burt designs and builds, it may take several months to a year for its impact to be seen, but the difference in revenue (double-digit percentage) is worth the wait, said von Sydow. “We are like the Accenture and IBM for publishers.”

Based in Sweden, von Sydow said the 7-year-old company is already profitable and has been doubling its size every year. At 30 staff and looking to hire more, von Sydow said Burt is clearly focused on media companies after initially trying to serve the broader spectrum of PR, advertiser and publisher firms.  He said Burt is already serving the top 100 media groups in the Nordic and in the US, such as Hearst, Business Insider and Schibsted. The company is looking to expand to Germany and the UK.

Keeping readers on your site

For news organizations, once a reader comes to their website, they want to keep them as long as possible so they can sell that attention to advertisers. Usually, news organizations use tags in the articles and then pop-up recommendations of articles with similar tags. Finnish company Leiki goes a step further using artificial intelligence to “fingerprint” each user and provide personalized semantic recommendations.

Using a database that has taken 16 years to build, the tools Leiki provides to publishers has an additional depth and complexity that standard tagging does not, said Martin Säntti, business development director for the company. As an example, a Guardian article on James Bond has 100 different semantic tags in the Leiki system whereas it only registered 11 tags in the standard Internet Advertising Bureau Tier 3 taxonomy.

The semantics tags that Leiki has developed comprise a complex intelligence system covering 150,000 topics. This means that Leiki tools are able to build individual user profiles, enabling publishers to feed personalized article recommendations and advertisers to launch targeted campaigns and even present relevant commercial products.

“With semantic technology, you can capture everything and we do pre-targeting instead of post-targeting,” said Säntti. “It’s a way for newspapers to drive reader response and also for advertisers to drive action.”

“We don’t own the data, we just provide the tools and enrich our customers’ data asset,” said Säntti. The Leiki team (16 staff) has been profitable for many years, according to Säntti. Besides serving publishers, which include a few big-name publications it is not allowed to disclose due to the sensitivity around user data, Leiki also have clients in the retail and banking industries and public sectors.

The current database is already available in English, German, Swedish and Finnish. The team will be adding Spanish and Norwegian soon. “With the way our algorithm is built, we are able to launch a language in three months and we are growing our languages organically.”

Finding what’s going viral, fast

Remember the blue-yellow dress that was all over the web? How do you find viral content and quickly put it onto your website, spiking traffic dramatically? By assigning someone on your team to monitor the social media scene 24/7? What if there is a tool that can predict what will go viral?

Founded in Finland in 2012, EzyInsight is a dashboard service that provides real-time tracking of how fast a piece of content is traveling in the social media sphere, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Any like, share or comment is counted as an engagement and the dashboard shows engagement rate by the minute.

“We can determine if a story will go viral in the first few minutes after it is published by the speed it is picked up on social media,” said Duane Atkins, CEO of EzyInsight. Anything above 30 engagements per minute is considered high in Scandinavia and anything above 100 in the US is good.

On the day that the interview took place, a “roses are red and violets are blue” picture was engaging at nearly 2,000 per minute and the naked photo that Kim Kardashian had just posted was engaging at nearly 1,000 times per minute.

One of EzyInsight’s first clients was Metro, the free daily newspaper in Sweden whose digital revenue grew by 40 percent (in 14 months) after using EzyInsight, according to Atkins. EzyInsight can also assist journalists to find trending topics and help publishers evaluate how well a piece of content is received in comparison to competitors’ content. “We often say that we are the Chartbeat of all your competitors,” said Atkins.

The 12-person team currently has about 50 clients and is looking to expand in the US and Asia this year.

Publishing social media posts quickly and beautifully

We have all been there before: trying to look for material on social media then embedding them into our articles or videos or websites in an aesthetic fashion, consuming time that we don’t have. Enter Socius, which calls itself a new content provider to tell stories using social media.

A dashboard with access to social media content across Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Vine and YouTube, Socius says it allows publishers to find human-curated content using hashtags, geotags, influencers or sentiments and present the content into a story on a publishers’ own site with a few clicks.

“Our platform is agnostic to allow content [from different social media] to be put together in one place,” said Daniel Butler, CEO of Socius. The tool is particularly useful if the topic is very visual, such as fashion shows or culture events where input from participants are highly valued and use of social media content can drive traffic. “When content is living on their site, publishers can monetize it and form relationships with readers.”

Founded in 2013 in Germany, the less-than-10-person team has offices in New York and the Nordics.

Improve business efficiency

For years now, news organizations have been expanding their advertising offering and adding new metrics to prove their effectiveness. But have news organizations been able to streamline the sales process?

Founded two years ago with the Finnish media conglomerate Karkimedia, Talea created a single dashboard for Karkimedia’s 32 newspapers to improve efficiency and automate the print and digital advertising process. Talea has now expanded to 100 publications.

In the past, advertisers conducted sales calls with publishers and sent emails to confirm deals or advertising layout. With the integrated cloud-based system that Talea provides, 70 percent of the booking process can now be automated, according to Jari Kosonen, CEO of Talea Solutions. For some, the sales centre can be cut by as much as 30 percent.

“Many media houses still have old, manual, siloed ways of working,” said Kosonen, especially since building such an integrated system is too much of an investment for a single publication. “We are helping media companies improve the digital process and make sure they can compete with other players in the market, such as Facebook whose sales process is completely automated.”

In doing so, Kosonen said Talea also allows publishers and advertising agencies to see exactly how much each brand is spending across different media and different platforms and how each piece of advertising is performing in terms of engagement metrics.

Based in Finland, the 10-person company is looking to expand to the rest of the Nordics, Central Europe and the UK. It is also working to expand the analytics for advertisers.


Chia Lun Huang


2016-03-23 00:44

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