The evolution of the Internet and the rise of new platforms—including social media—have transformed how we find and consume content.
If you think about traditional search, you’ll know it involves navigating through myriad sites and pages. It requires you to either know what you’re searching for, or rely on other people to find what you need.
Though Google has made it easier for publishers and advertisers to be found more effectively and efficiently, it has also opened the floodgates. We now have access to a massive amount of content, which has only made it harder for us to find what is relevant to us.
Battling content overload
To manage this content overload, we’ve turned to social platforms like Facebook that present us with a completely new way of discovering content. For example, Facebook’s newsfeed serves up an endless stream of content that we didn’t even know existed. While social media platforms rely on user-generated content algorithms to display relevant information to the right person, your content marketing efforts could be lost in the deluge of information if it hasn’t been curated with precision.
Finding a piece of content—which may include a video, an image, a web page, etc—is no longer as simple as entering a query in a search box.
Content discovery is personalized, automated and more contextual than ever before. And the best part, it’s always evolving.
What is content discovery?
Content discovery is a process that enables you to explore new topics or content without you having to search for them on your own.
By using content discovery, a reader is shown content that is prioritized by their interests, and not by website popularity; discarding irrelevant information.
This process has two sides:
1. Customer perspective: Find great, relevant content when you either know or don’t know what you’re looking for
2. Advertiser perspective: Get your content in front of your target audience at the right moment, using the right channels
Content discovery delivers personalized content based on your viewing preferences in the moment. This is where content discovery networks come in.
Think of a content discovery network as a search engine in reverse. There’s too much content out there that you and not enough time to discover it all. The content has to find you instead of the other way around.
Introduction to content discovery networks
When you scroll through a website article or a blog post and find ‘Recommended Posts’ or ‘Suggested Content’ at the end of the article, know that has been made possible thanks to content discovery networks.
Content discovery networks function as third-party traffic drivers in the paid content distribution space. Examples of content discovery networks include Outbrain, Revcontent and Taboola that work with advertisers to promote content on high traffic pages. These content recommendation widgets are typically found on the sidebars or at the end of an article where the ‘Recommended Content’ section is featured.
Content discovery networks rely on algorithms to match your content with relevant posts on other websites that your target audience enjoys, giving you valuable real estate at the bottom of these relevant pages, and giving readers a more personalized experience. Done right, it’s a win-win situation for advertisers and publishers. Advertisers increase the traffic to their sites, and publications get paid for making space available on their websites to the advertiser.
Future of content discovery
With content discovery networks, you’re able to find information you wouldn’t have been able to find on your own; without being bombarded by irrelevant and uninteresting content. Content discovery is constantly evolving. And with every new content discovery network or algorithm, the internet therefore becomes a more personalized and a much smaller place for users.