Content Recommendation Engine vs. Traditional Online Advertising

content recommendation

The statistics related to traditional online advertising are chilling to most marketers.

“The average person sees more than 1,700 banner ads every month, and is more likely become a Navy SEAL than they are to click on one.” – Hubspot

“77 percent of all online display ads are never seen.”- ClickZ

“Only one percent of traffic to most stores is driven by ads.”- Conductor

With such dire statements, it’s any wonder that companies invest in traditional online advertising at all. And truth be told, while digital marketing investments are increasing, the portion dedicated to advertising is decreasing. Most businesses are putting their digital marketing dollars into big data, social media, and, above all, content.

content recommendation

The problem with content, though, is the same as with advertising. If no one sees your content, then it’s not going to build your brand or drive conversions. You can drive traffic to your site via SEO, social media, and other tactics, but most likely, you’re still missing a large part of your target audience. That’s why so many content marketers are turning to content recommendation engines to drive traffic and with impressive results.

Content Recommendation Engines 

Anyone who has ever visited a website has probably encountered a content recommendation engine, even if they don’t realize it.

The principle is simple: When a user clicks on a particular site or piece of content, when he or she reaches the end of the content, there are recommendations for additional content that is relevant to that particular user. It’s similar to what you might find on a site like Netflix or Amazon, in which the site gathers information about you based on what you have watched or purchased in the past to make suggestions about what you might like to watch or buy now.

Content recommendation engines are a winning proposition for everyone. Advertisers the businesses that place their ads or content with the engine drive traffic to their site. They pay for this privilege via a Cost-per-Click model; the engine takes a percentage of that payout and pays the rest to the publisher. This arrangement allows site owners to monetize content (if users are going to leave the site anyway, might as well make some money on it) while publishers see growth in their web traffic and ideally, their leads and conversions.

The Perfect Content Recommendation Network

It’s hard to find the perfect fit of anything for your business. When you start looking at content recommendation solutions, you quickly will find tons of companies that all seem to do the same thing. Once you start delving into the specifics, however, you’ll find out that content recommendation networks are extremely different. The perfect content recommendation network should be on the leading edge of technology and only work with high-quality sites. In addition to providing excellent customer service solutions, you want a content recommendation network to be a large, top player in the industry.

Advantages Over Traditional Advertising

Clearly, publishers and the content recommendation engine itself benefit from this arrangement, but as a business trying to increase traffic, why should you choose content recommendation over traditional online advertising?

content recommendation

  • More Targeted Traffic. One of the reasons that content recommendation works is it is based on complex algorithms that use data on not only what the user is currently reading or watching, but also what he or she read or watched in the past to recommend additional content. Different users will receive different recommendations because successful content recommendation is driven by customization. Instead of placing ads on low-quality sites and hoping that they will see them, content recommendation engines bring the content to the right people.
  • Increased Engagement. When users see additional relevant content on sites they trust, they are more likely to click on it. In fact, click-through rates tend to hover around 6%-8%, much higher than the typical online advertisement.
  • No More “Banner Blindness”. Can you remember the last online advertisement you saw? Probably not. Most users these days suffer from “banner blindness” in other words, they aren’t just ignoring banner ads, they don’t even really see them. All of the tricks that once worked to get attention, like colorful boxes, animation, and tantalizing offers, are useless since an infinitesimal number of people actually see the ads. Recommended content helps overcome this problem since it’s not usually packaged with attention-getters like banner ads. It’s subtle, quiet, and trustworthy.
  • Brand Building. Many CMOs report that their digital marketing efforts are less focused on direct response and more geared toward building brand awareness. Sharing your content via a content recommendation engine helps support this effort. While some recommended content blurs the lines between editorial and advertisement, the simple fact that users don’t feel like they are clicking an ad increases the likelihood of click-throughs. And when you share high quality, useful content, you support your brand-building efforts, and in turn, your conversions.

There will always be a place for online advertising. Plenty of businesses are still seeing results from their display ads. However, to increase your reach to your target audience, while maximizing both your digital marketing budget and ROI, test the results with a top tier content recommendation engine.


Powering 250 billion content recommendations per month, Revcontent is the fastest growing network and reaches 97% of US households, according to Quantcast. To learn more about the benefits of content recommendation engines,  sign up or visit our website.

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