How Keywee Uses Newspaper Stories

  • Lindsey Loving
  • 03.29.2016

Social media networks promise publishers access to a vast audience of previously untapped readers. But that doesn’t mean that those readers will click on the article, visit the news site or convert into paying subscribers.

With newspaper companies’ growing emphasis on subscription revenue, it’s especially important to target and connect with those readers who will truly engage with the content and want to pay for premium, exclusive access. Enter Keywee, a 2016 NAA Accelerator Pitch Program winner with a software solution built to monetize the”drive-by” social media traffic.

“One of the challenges for newspapers today is how to own this social media audience so they come back to your website and are your audience at the end of the day,” said Keywee CEO Yaniv Makover. “If they’re just reading a story and then going back to Facebook or Twitter, then you’re losing an opportunity.”

His solution is to utilize advanced text mining technology to analyze a story and determine the audience that will be most interested in the topic – and most likely to act on the content. The software then generates hundreds of options for paid posts on Facebook, Instagram and Yahoo that are optimized to reach the target reader and automatically runs some of those ads to promote the content.Headshot-Yaniv-Makover

“The best audience is not just comprised of people who want to consume the content, but people who meet the publisher’s goals,” said Makover. “If the publisher wants to get online subscriptions, then we have to find the audience that is likely to be subscribers to [that outlet] and want to read that specific story. Hitting both of these goals is not easy, so that’s what Keywee does.”

The most common business goals, according to Makover, are to drive paid subscriptions and newsletter signups, expand readership through audience development and boost exposure for branded content initiatives.

Makover believes publishers have the opportunity to capture greater shares of the content marketing and native advertising markets. The ability to finely tune a brand’s key audience is an additional selling point for advertisers. The data collected by Keywee can also be used to inform future content, providing insight as to which types of stories resonate most with readers.

“We’re helping publishers make the right investments in their paid distribution,” explained Makover. And it’s working. Founded in 2013, the startup already counts more than 100 media outlets as clients, including The Wall Street Journal, Gannett, Hearst, The Oregonian and The New York Times, which is also an early investor in the company. The New York Times, which currently pushes stories through Keywee’s algorithm, has seen a 150 percent return on subscription revenue through the startup. Perhaps most importantly, as Digiday reported, 50 percent of the readers targeted by Keywee who then click-through to the Times” site are first-time visitors. This enables the newspaper company to engage readers more deeply in its content and increase the likelihood that they will subscribe.

“Keywee has been one of the best ways we’ve found to identify loyal subscribers,” Matt Yurow, director of audience development for The New York Times, told Digiday.

The startup was initially backed by Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s venture capital firm, Innovation Endeavors, which is known for leading the investments in companies like Uber and Periscope. To date, Keywee has been awarded $9.1 million in seed and Series A financing, and the company plans to use some of the investment to develop additional services that could be provided to publishers on a subscription basis.

Looking ahead to NAA mediaXchange 2016, Makover is eager to share ideas with other startups and industry leaders to inform future developments.

“There’s going to be a lot of great, new ideas from other companies and publishers, and I’m very interested in them,” said Makover. “The industry is moving very, very fast, especially on the digital side. It’s important for us to get together and for me to listen to people’s experiences so we can provide better value for our customers.”

For more about Keywee, see How a Startup Uses NewText-Mining Technology for Content Marketing

Part of a Series Featuring NAA’s 2016 Accelerator Pitch Program Winners


  • Lindsey Loving
Lindsey is the Communications Manager for the News Media Alliance. Prior to joining the Alliance, she led communications for a food and nutrition nonprofit in Washington, D.C. for over eight years.