Relevance is the Problem, Not Content Recommendation

Seeing What Sticks. The Shotgun Method. The Scatter Approach. You know, throwing spaghetti at the wall. This is the unfortunate folly of many content recommendation engines — Taboola, Outbrain, for example.

But no one wants to take a bowl of spaghetti to the face in real life, and they don’t like it digitally. This practice generates poor user experience, sub-par engagement for publishers, and can create a negative attitude toward the publishers themselves.

So why does it not only exist, but thrive?

The reality is that no one is coming forward with a better way of surfacing contextual and relevant recommendations. And it’s about time someone does.

At Stanza, we’re stepping up to the challenge.

First, our recommendation unit, StanzaCal, shows upcoming and past events that are interesting to each reader according to the context of the article he or she is reading. Some examples include: the Cardinals season schedule and past games within Cardinals articles, or movie release dates on Entertainment pages, etc.

Because we power the schedules for NBA, NHL and NFL teams, fitness instructors, esports teams, movie releases and more, we have a large database of events.

Sites who publish StanzaCal can trust that our content is up-to-date, as well as socially and contextually relevant. This approach maintains their integrity while deepening each reader’s experience in an intentional way. No spaghetti-throwing here.

Second, we take content recommendation a step further by including brands that enhance the events.

Warner Brothers, for example, has run multiple campaigns with us to share trailers for their upcoming movie releases.

Action: We embed the trailer within an auto-play tile of our “Coming to Theaters” StanzaCal (no sound on auto-play, pictured below).

Result: Publishers who host our StanzaCals earn extra revenue from the campaign and see higher engagement with the StanzaCal on their pages.

This is what content recommendation should be: relevant and interesting to each reader, trusted by both publishers and brand partners, and a positive experience all around.

That’s what we call a win-win-win.

By Jaquilyn Edwards, Director of Business Development
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