Part 1

Part 2


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Danny Khatib - Founder of Granite Media

Granite Media pairs quality storytelling with smart business practices and technology

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Danny and Granite Media are building a next-generation media publisher focused on combining quality storytelling with cutting-edge business practices and technology. They did almost $9M in revenue and were profitable in their first full year of operations (2018).

Show notes

Part 1

Danny’s Background and Granite Media (02:02)

I have been in media since early 2000 when I joined Time Warner. After graduate school, I have co-founded a startup called Livingly Media. In early 2015, we have sold it to a subsidiary of Axel Springer. 

At Granite Media, we are focused on building sustainable, high-quality journalism. Sustainable to us means profitable. 

We have two teams - one is editorial and the other one is the product team. 

We have chosen to focus on marketing automation as our core marketing distribution strategy. 

When it comes to the editorial format we tend to focus on the long-form and evergreen content. 

Defining Programmatic Advertising (07:03) 

For us, programmatic advertising is buying advertising through the use of automation and data.

Deciding What Content To Produce (11:15) 

We are trying to arm the editorial team with the analytics and the performance data so they can draw their own conclusions. It is less about the content category and more about the style of content. 

You will need to hire creative and smart editors who will pour through the data and who will gain their own insights about what is working for their brand. 

Publishing Content And Driving Traffic (13:48) 

We have a custom CMS that we just go ahead and publish ourselves. It allows us to do our own analytics. Once that story is published, it will go into the marketing queue and we'll promote it through normal organic channels such as Twitter and Facebook. 

After about 24h to 48h, we will start to collect engagement and performance data which will give us the first insight whether a specific piece of content is working or not. 

Calculating The Revenue (20:20) 

We have built our own real-time revenue analytics platform where we are tracking every ad impression. Sometimes through programmatic channels, those bidders will tell us what they are paying. Other times, like in the case of Google, they will not tell you what they're paying. So we will have to predict that. We also have a system that is trying to predict the revenue we are making. 

Part 2

Taking Advantage of the Native Advertising and Social Advertising Platforms (03:01) 

The first step is to define your funnel upfront and define KPIs for every aspect of that funnel. You will find that KPIs are usually different for every type of content. 

The second step is checking how your content is performing and engaging. 

The third one is the monetization piece. 

Testing The Various Solutions Through Programmatic Ad Buying (11:26) 

There are specialist agencies who focus on one or more aspects of programmatic ad buying. They will run the campaigns for you and agencies specialize across four important areas - search, social, native networks, and open web. 

Advice For Smaller Content Players To Start Testing Their Own Technologies (13:58) 

If I was starting today and had nothing to rely on but myself, I would probably figure out if search or social was a better channel for my type of content. 

If you believe that you’re going to find your audience on social, then start with Facebook. If you can't make it work on Facebook, it will be hard to make it work on Twitter, Pinterest, and other channels. 

CPMs and CPCs (15:00) 

If you are targeting a desktop platform, you can probably start to get a meaningful volume anywhere north of 15 cents. When it comes to mobile, if you can get above 10 then magic can happen. 

CTRs are very different because the placements are different. If you want to look at the native networks, which tend to run a small widget at the bottom of an article or on the side, you are looking at 0.2 - 0.25% as an okay click-through-rate. 

Tools For Driving Revenue (19:16) 

If you are looking at a free content ad-supported model, there are good service providers today that will generate higher revenue than Google AdSense. 

These are AdThrive, Media Vine, Free Star. 

Last Tips For People Who Are Running The Content Creation Business (20:45) 

Know your funnel, how you’re going to track it, try everything and have fun.