Piano, a SaaS platform for digital publishers, with 1,300 media brands, raises $ 22 million in Series B to help publishers earn non-advertising revenue

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Piano, whose technology and services offer digital publishers a way to supplement their advertising revenues, raised Thursday $ 22 million in Series B financing to expand its offering and help it acquire other companies in the industry. same sector.

"There is all this advertising technology, but nothing exists to help publishers deal with their readers 'and customers' traffic," said Piano General Manager Trevor Kaufman.

Piano has technology that manages subscription management, user credentials, and e-mail – but its main product, Composer, allows publishers to create rules via a drag-and-drop interface to display different marketing messages at the same time. different audiences.

An editor might, for example, show a reader anxious New York a message allowing him to buy a ticket for a local event. Or, it might remind sports fans to download a new sports app.

Composer is designed to let marketers decide who sees what messages and when. According to Kaufman, publishers can now customize marketing messages, but this requires working with the IT department, writing code, or creating an internal tool. These headaches prevent audience development or subscription teams from moving quickly and quickly testing multiple ideas.

Piano also provides publisher services to execute these strategies. About 40% of its customers use only technology and 60% use its technologies and services. BI Premium Business Insider Piano works with Hearst Magazines, Bloomberg, Oath, The Economist and The Ladders, for a total of 1,300 media brands.

Last year, it doubled its customer base by adding 50 corporate customers, many of whom operate multiple brands.

Publishers pay software fees as a service to access Piano technologies and pay for services with an agency billing structure. Kaufman worked in agencies – he sold Schematic to WPP in 2007 – so he is comfortable creating a company that combines technology and services. Both sides of the business will grow with the new funding.

"We believe that agency software and services go hand in hand," said Kaufman. He wants to "give them an excellent car and drive them in".

Piano also plans to create more detailed reports for its clients, including benchmarking. Is a conversion rate of 10% good or bad? Piano will give publishers a better idea of ​​how they compare.

The funds will also give Piano money for acquisitions – such as publishing tools around editorial data or social media.

Piano's funding comes as many publishers launch subscription-based products, feeling scorched by previous monetization efforts via social platforms. Kaufman sees this as a return to the era of magazine subscriptions and cable networks that relied on the cable carriers' transportation costs.

"Historically, there was a part of the party between the media company and the client," said Kaufman. "Editorial brands have always been excellent B2B marketers, but most of them are generally not considered excellent database managers of people and DTC marketers." . We want to be a repository of best practices for them. "