Two New Products, Two New Partners, $15M New Dollars
Last month, Chartbeat celebrated its sixth anniversary. Over those six years, we’ve worked with thousands of incredible partners; raised $15.5 million in venture capital; committed code to GitHub 72,000 times; watched the internet break over Obama’s election, the Egyptian uprising, and the color of a blue and black dress; and influenced how the media industry uses data.
In the spirit of if something was fun the first time you should do it again, I’d like to announce that we’ve taken a $15.5 million Series C investment, doubling the total amount invested in Chartbeat to $31 million. The round is led by Harmony Partners, joined by current investors DFJ, Index Ventures, Jason Calacanis and Jeff Clavier and new investor Digital Garage. We’re thankful for the faith our investors have shown in us and we will be celebrating internally.
However, new funds are more than an excuse for a celebration. It’s a promise we make to our investors and to our customers and partners that we won’t stop pushing forward, that we won’t stop building, and that we won’t stop trying to take this industry to a better place.
And this industry needs to get to a better place. We have a simple mission: We want to make sure that ten years from now, it’s possible to build a sustainable business around quality content. We want those in the business of content to succeed by appealing to their readers’ minds more than their index fingers, and to know that the quality of their content affects the value of the page.
With that in mind, today we’re launching two new tools for publishers’ editorial and advertising teams. In the short term, they help to solve the viewability problem for publishers. Over the long term, they help to prepare the industry for an economy based on attention rather than pageloads, an economy based on what matters.
We hope you like them.
Introducing Engaged Headline Testing
And a powerful new Heads Up Display
One of the criticisms of data tools can be that they prioritize clickbait over quality. Tools like traditional click-focused A/B testing can aid and abet that issue, where the most provocative headline wins regardless of the content that supports it. Moreover, tools built for long product-focused tests can struggle when applied to the fast lifecycle of a news headline, where the half-life of the story has expired before the test has finished.
Our newest editorial tool — Engaged Headline Testing — is the first multivariate testing tool built specifically for media sites. For the first time, it optimizes not just for the click but for the behavior after the click. For a headline to win it must be both enticing enough to attract traffic, and also truthful enough to keep an audience. Not only does this optimize for audience engagement rather than pageloads, it also enables editorial teams to directly affect the overall ad viewability performance of their site.
In fact, we’ve found that by optimizing for clicks that result in more engaged time on a page — or Quality Clicks, as we call them in the new Heads Up Display — it means more ads are seen for longer.
A recent study shows when visitors are engaged for 15 seconds or more, viewability is 60% versus 28% for visitors engaged for fewer than 15 seconds.
Finally, Engaged Headline Testing works at the speed you need it to. It uses a propensity-modeling algorithm that assigns more traffic to the likely winner as the test is running, delivering better total performance than standard A/B testing.
For the first time, media companies get multivariate testing built for the goals they care about, at the pace they need — all designed to fit into their workflow in the completely-rebuilt-from-the-bottom-up Heads Up Display.
Introducing Engaged Ad Refresh
And automated line-item optimization
With Engaged Headline Testing, publishers are driving more people to more engaging, high-quality content. With our new Engaged Ad Refresh tool, they’re turning that engagement directly into revenue.
With Engaged Ad Refresh, publishers borrow an idea from TV and make money from the amount of engagement they can capture vs. the amount of pages that load. Chartbeat tracks the attention of each user as they interact with ads and content, and after an ad has received a set amount of Active Exposure Time, it identifies and serves the next best ad for that user. It’s making the web less like magazines and more like TV, where four 30-second commercials will run in a two minute break.
For the advertiser looking beyond viewability, an ad refreshed after 30 seconds of active exposure has received 30 times the attention required by the viewability standard.
For the publisher with engaging content, it significantly increases the amount of viewable inventory and makes the quality of the content directly affect the revenue opportunity of the page.
PGA TOUR has seen a greater than 10% increase in viewable impressions, meaning an overall increase in new viewable inventory by more than 10%.
For the visitor, it means sites will be built to hold attention rather than maximize the number of times visitors have to click on something.
In essence, we’re seeing the rise of the digital 30-second spot.
Making Engaged Ad Refresh tools work in a way that solved for both advertiser goals and publisher needs was one thing, but we wanted to build even more intelligence into how we made our ad choices.
Our line-item optimizer automatically serves under-performing line items to refreshed ad slots after a fixed amount of actively in-view time. This ad refresh technology is — in real time, in flight — optimizing for the campaign’s goal of hitting either viewability or Active Exposure Time targets.
It goes without saying this automation dramatically increases delivery efficiency for campaigns and reduces the need for padding upfront inventory or makegoods at the end of the campaign.
That means brands get the attention they pay for, not just what they’re promised.
That means publishers get paid for the attention the capture, not just the traffic they drive.
That means — most importantly — we all get a web that rewards and sees a whole lot more of the content that we actually want to read.
We’re rolling this stuff out in the coming weeks, so if you’re already using our editorial and advertising tools, just reach out to your account team and we’ll make sure you’re first in line. If you’re not using our Chartbeat Publishing editorial or ads tools yet, let’s change that.