News Corp is testing a homegrown content recommendation tool
When it comes to recirculating readers, many media companies turn to Outbrain and Taboola, sprinkling ads into the mix to also generate revenue. News Corp is taking a different route, testing its own content-recirculation widget that lets several of its publications including The Wall Street Journal share their articles on each other’s sites.
The initiative, called Project Hamilton, collects relevant articles from the publications and runs them at the bottom of individual articles. The story module is running on MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Realtor.com and parts of The Wall Street Journal. It does not include sponsor content.
The project came out of the Dow Jones Media Group, a unit within News Corp that includes non-Wall Street Journal publications such as MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Barron’s and the startup news publication Heat Street.
In a memo to staff, William Lewis, CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of the Journal, said early results are “promising.” He said the unit’s early version got a 1.04 percent click-through rate. It’s hard to say if that’s good because there are so many factors (it’s not known what limits were set on the kinds of articles running in the modules or if other user experience improvements were made that would have improved CTRs, for example), but Lewis said that the click-through rate was more than three times the original goal of 0.3 percent.
News Corp wouldn’t elaborate on Project Hamilton, but there are a couple reasons the company would be interested in recirculation. The Journal is stepping up efforts to grow its subscription business, and the more it keeps readers engaged on site, the better the chances of getting them to become a paying subscriber. The experiment comes at a time when the Journal has been tightening up online loopholes that let people read its articles without paying.
Many of the suggested story modules on publishers’ sites are placed there by Outbrain and Taboola, the two biggest players in the content-recommendation space, which run sponsored links through them. Publishers can get paid well for hosting those modules, but they’ve come under fire for promoting low-quality content and misleading ads that can undermine reader confidence in the host’s site.
News Corp largely hasn’t run third-party modules on its sites; Outbrain’s module runs on the New York Post and ran on MarketWatch until a few months ago, but hasn’t run on the Journal in several years.
The benefit of using a third party is they use a variety of signals to determine what content suggestions to serve. News Corp did not say which factors its tool will use in Project Hamilton. In the example above, a Realtor.com article mostly served real-estate-related content.
Other publishers have created such ad-free content recirculation modules to boost engagement on their sites. The publisher might not get the revenue it would from a third party, but in theory, the engagement is higher because the articles served are presumably more relevant to the audience. Publishers also are touting their engagement as clicks lose value with advertisers.
‘Catalyst for growth’: GroupM’s Brian Wieser bumps up his 2021 and 2022 global and U.S. ad forecasts
The latest global ad revenue forecast from WPP’s GroupM is out — and if it’s accurate, media is going to have a pretty great 2022 with almost 10 percent growth.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: ‘There’s a real strain’ on media agencies as they try to staff up after mediapalooza gains
How will media agencies staff up when employees are leaving in droves, either from burnout or more lucrative offers from brands and tech firms?
How Reuters Events maintains a role for virtual as it returns to in-person events
After a successful two years running mostly virtual conferences, Reuters Events is exploring more hybrid and in-person components to its events for next year.
SponsoredMarketer’s playbook: Delivering performance alongside privacy
Jonathan Meltzer, director of marketing, ads privacy, platforms and measurement, Google One way to prepare any business for what’s next in 2021 and 2022 is to invest in data and insights. However, shifts in consumer expectations challenge even the most experienced marketing team to find safer ways to show people ads and measure campaigns. To […]
‘Lens of the West Coast’: Inside the L.A. Times’ new head of audio’s plan to focus the publisher’s podcasts
Aguilera wants people to one day associate the newspaper publisher with its podcasts and their West Coast "vibe and tone." But first, she is tasked with growing the L.A. Times' daily news show "The Times."
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What publishers should watch for when meeting with blockchain vendors
In this week's Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber explores the primary questions publishers should be asking when evaluating potential blockchain partners.