Five subtle, not creepy ways to recommend content

By Rebecca Alter


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


When it comes to the media industry, content recommendation goes far beyond newsletters. Companies are beginning to recognise that, when done strategically, recommending content to audiences can amplify consumer interest and enhance their overall experience with brands.

But here’s the big question: What recommendation methods are most effective?

Last year, Gartner, an international research firm, revealed that 78% of consumers crave custom experiences. The report goes on to explain that while consumers want an effortless and relevant experience, they don’t want their personal information to be abused.

Media companies can nudge users into more active engagement.
Media companies can nudge users into more active engagement.

This means it’s important to recommend content from your platform in a subtle and data-secure way. Otherwise, you risk appearing self-serving or annoying to your audience. Just think of how much trust Facebook lost thanks to its history of abusing user data.

Send the right content to consumers without overstepping boundaries by relying on a mix of personalised and automated tools and techniques. Here are some simple ways to keep consumers on your digital properties longer — without sacrificing any part of their experience.

Push notifications

If you’re on the hunt for a way to boost time spent on your digital property, push notifications may be the solution your organisation needs. You can allow users to customise their own experiences by limiting notifications to their favourite topics and verticals they’ve opted into.

Research from the Columbia Journalism Review found consumers are generally comfortable with receiving push notifications. As a result, companies are successfully leveraging this technology to keep audiences interested in content.

New York Magazine, for instance, has seen a 7% click-through rate on mobile push notifications for its shopping vertical and plans to increase notification frequency around other verticals. Viafoura clients have also seen click-through rates of up to 27.6% on push notifications.

Overall, push notifications are a quick and effective way to connect directly with your audience members for urgent or new content.

Ratings and reviews

Have you ever wondered how you can best flag top content for consumers without ever lifting a finger? Rating and review tools allow audience members to publish their own authentic feelings about your content.

These community-made recommendations are often perceived by consumers to be significantly trustworthy. In fact, “92% of consumers trust peer recommendations,” says a marketing expert on G2.

These tools also give consumers an additional avenue to engage with your platform, flagging top content as they generate conversation.

Data-driven recommendation widgets

If you’ve ever subscribed to a video-streaming platform, you’ve probably noticed the recommended content that changes as you watch new videos.

Content-recommendation widgets run algorithms that analyses user data and automatically chooses what media consumers see. In most cases, these tools help companies provide a highly relevant experience to consumers. “Data-driven personalisation … ensures customers get what they want,” according to an article on SportsPro.

These personalisation tools aren’t limited to the OTT space and can be leveraged by any media company that hosts content on their digital properties.

As a matter of fact, all types of companies that buy into personalisation tech are surpassing their competitors by 30% in sales.

Trending conversations

Commenters are up to seven times more engaged than ordinary consumers.

For this reason, you may want to consider putting a tool in place to keep these extremely valuable community members interested in your platform.

Certain tools are actually able to highlight trending conversations across your properties, allowing you to keep your most active audience members reading your most engaging content.

Personalised messages

Gartner explains how “brands find themselves balancing the need for personalised marketing messages while consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and data usage.”

To keep consumers engaged and satisfied on digital properties, companies are now relying on their first-party data to understand consumer behaviours. With these resulting insights, companies are able to send relevant, personalised messages to subscribers. Custom messages can be used to suggest a curated list of must-read content based on the particular interests of each consumer.

Many companies send out these types of personalised messages to users who are becoming inactive, allowing them to re-engage audience members and prevent churn.

No matter how abundant or great your content is, the right people aren’t necessarily finding it. Maximise the time users spend on your digital properties by giving them a gentle push in the right direction.

About Rebecca Alter

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