The 2019 FUSE Media Summit Technology Award Winners
Last month, leading digital media executives and technology companies converged in Philadelphia for Publishing Executive’s annual FUSE Media Summit. The event is designed to help publishers evaluate technologies relevant to their businesses in a way that’s efficient and effective, while also arming them with best practices for implementing and leveraging those technologies within their organizations.
Rather than pitching publishers in an exhibit hall, technology vendors play an active role in the FUSE program. Sponsors meet with media execs in one-on-one meetings to address their specific technology challenges; they also present case studies to groups of attendees in breakout boardroom sessions. Emerging technology providers get a chance to take the stage and compete in the attendee-favorite Startup Derby.
Following FUSE each year, we ask media execs to tell us about the top technology vendors they encountered. Attendees vote for the Best Boardroom Case Study presented by sponsors in three different technology tracks: Content, Marketing & Data, and Ad Tech. They also crown a Startup Derby Winner and name a Company to Watch.
“Media companies are increasingly turning to their technology partners to help them navigate the pace and scope of change,” says FUSE Brand Director Matt Steinmetz. “We launched FUSE four years ago to create an event that’s conducive to these conversations and to generating new publisher-vendor relationships. Collectively, FUSE’s sponsors bring an unprecedented amount of expertise and ingenuity to these discussions, and our 2019 Award Winners, in particular, stood out for their contributions.”
The results are in, and these are the technology award winners of FUSE Media 2019:
Parse.ly – Best Boardroom Case Study (Content)
Content analytics system Parse.ly overviewed the ways its data helps customers track audience engagement to create more effective content. The company tailored its presentation to attendees through five different case studies, including how Slate leveraged engaged time metrics to grow subscriptions and how Policygenius boosted on-site recirculation using existing content.
“By working with over 4,000 sites worldwide, one thing we've learned is that no two businesses are exactly alike,” says Claudia Lichtenberg, enterprise account executive at Parse.ly. “They all have different goals, challenges, and reader interactions they're hoping to achieve. To ensure that our presentation was impactful to the wide range of companies in our session, we put together a few different case studies that we believed could be valuable and then had our attendees choose what they wanted to hear.”
Permutive – Best Boardroom Case Study (Ad Tech)
Publisher data platform Permutive showcased how BuzzFeed has used its Edge DMP to gain insight on users, grow audiences, and sell using buying intent data. Permutive’s Edge DMP enables BuzzFeed to enrich second-party data from advertisers with its own first-party data – a capability that helped the media company seal a multi-million-dollar deal with a financial organization. More robust data allows BuzzFeed to better understand the content preferences and behaviors of each advertiser’s target audience.
In his presentation, Sales Director Boaz Tal also stressed that Permutive is helping publishers prepare for a privacy-focused future through better data strategy and product development, a key area of focus throughout the FUSE program this year.
BlueConic – Best Boardroom Case Study (Marketing & Data)
Customer data platform BlueConic outlined key tips and frameworks for successfully adopting a CDP. The sponsor’s presentation highlighted how publishers are using its solutions to unify data sets, enhance advertising products, and drive consumer revenue. For example, The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette used BlueConic technology to personalize content metering on its website, which helped grow digital subscriptions by 100% and generate 38K new email signups.
“Publishers unlock the potential of their first-party data when they can unify and activate it in a customer data platform like BlueConic,” says Sam Ngo, director of product marketing at BlueConic. “Over the years, we’ve seen our customers leverage their first-party data to drive growth in direct revenue streams— like increasing and retaining subscription revenue by applying machine learning to understand audience behaviors and prevent churn; and by creating first-party data packages to sell to partners and advertisers. Not only does BlueConic help publishers create first-party data assets, our CDP is often the enabling technology that brings together multiple parts of the organization and helps teams work together more efficiently and effectively by providing a common source of customer data truth.”
OutVoice – Startup Derby Winner
Matt Saincome, publisher of The Hard Times and founder of OutVoice, impressed attendees with his new one-click invoice solution. He emphasized flaws in the current freelance payment process from his own experience as a writer and editor, and then explained how OutVoice fixes them.
“We take the information the editors already input while they’re publishing the article to automatically generate and then pay an invoice for the freelancer – so the freelancer doesn’t even need to file an invoice,” Saincome explained at FUSE. “It gets sent out right away and then we have a central platform that handles all the record-keeping for tax season.”
Check out this Q&A with Saincome to learn more about how OutVoice works.
Zephr – Company to Watch
Customer experience platform Zephr is helping media companies “gear-up for the subscription economy.” The company’s dynamic paywall technology – used by clients including Dennis Publishing and News Corporation – is designed to streamline the process of testing and optimizing customized reader journeys, from trials and new registrations to upsells and subscriber retention efforts.
"As paywalls become more common, the one-size-fits-all approach becomes less effective,” says James Henderson, CEO at Zephr. “We’re entering a new era where publishers should be able to deliver a multitude of different registration, trial, subscription and retention approaches tailored for different types of customers — easily, intelligently and dynamically. That’s the insight that has driven our product development."
Leah Wynalek is the senior editor for Publishing Executive and Book Business. She has worked at national magazine publishing companies including Trusted Media Brands and Rodale, where she assisted in digital content creation and strategy for Prevention.com. More recently, she used her multimedia skillset on behalf of clients as a content specialist for Philadelphia-based marketing agency En Route.