How do you find great content on the net? Even more, content that is tailored to your interests. In the early years of the net, web administrators showed you related stories. However, there was no guarantee that the related stories were great content.
Social Media went one step further. It showed you stories that your peers liked. This was better. You could trust what your friends were reading or recommending. The clicks went up.
Now, Outbrain.com has given you a new solution. Its code, when installed on your website or a blog, looks beyond related links and makes “personalized recommendations” to your visitors.
It is what Amazon.com did. Every time you bought a book on Amazon you were shown a list of books that buyers with similar interests had bought. The number of clicks and purchases went up.
Outbrain is trying to do the same with content. According to it, “For years, content recommendations have been driven by relatedness. But we’ve found that the best way to deeply engage audiences is to tailor our recommendations for each and every person and instead serve up content that is interesting to them but not necessarily related.”
Outbrain says several factors influence its recommendations. Broadly these can be classified in the following four categories:
- Popularity of content.
- Trending and social popularity
- Contextual — that is stories related to the page that a visitor is reading
- Behavioral — that is people who read this story also read another. In other words, matching reading interests of like-minded people.
This helps the Outbrain code to decide “which pieces of content are the most engaging to the audience”. It then serves them to keep people clicking or reading content for long periods.
Outbrain offers one more service to increase clicks, and bring traffic to your site. It shows your best content on other sites for a fee. This way you get more traffic because your content gets showcased on more than 100,000 publisher sites.
In fact, on most Indian news sites you find a section called “From Around the Web”. This section lists links to similar articles from other websites. These content listings are coming from small sites, but they are getting big exposure.
In a way – small way — Outbrain is to content management what Google AdWords is to advertising.