For years on this site I’ve been using the same related posts plugin. The one that I found to be most effective based on the algorithm it used was Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP). The fact is that most sites have some tool that they use to recommend related posts or articles to readers. It’s a great way for readers to discover other articles on your site that they might be interested in.
Today I started testing a new solution from Outbrain which claims to have a unique, personalized algorithm that learns and improves itself based on individual readers. Whereas with most related post plugins if five people visited the same post, they would see the same five related posts, which obviously isn’t ideal. Namely because if three of those people have already read four out of the five related posts then that’s just a pretty useless waste of real estate that offers them nothing that they haven’t already seen.
According to Outbrain:
One of the challenges in creating a great content discovery engine is that no two people are alike. This is the reason commonly seen “related link” widgets often fail to grab attention: when everyone sees the same suggestions, only a portion of the audience cares. That’s why we concentrate on personalizing our algorithms, so we can present each person with those hidden gems of content that are really interesting to him as an individual.
An interesting idea indeed. In the short time I’ve been testing it and clicking around it does indeed seem to learn as it goes. The truth is you don’t really have to guess if it’s working or not because they also provide you with dashboard analytics on their site so you can tell exactly how well your related content is converting click-throughs.
There’s also a number of other options they provide including an option to have two different kinds of post rating systems as well as text or thumbnail options for your lists. Below is a screencap of the settings panel.
You can download the Outbrain WordPress plugin either through your dashboard or you can find it in the WordPress plugin repository here.
Take a look around and check out the related entries at the bottom of each post and see if you discover any new content that you find useful. I’d love to hear some user feedback on how useful you find the new system.
Outbrain was founded in 2006 by Yaron Galai and Ori Lahav. We are headquartered in New York with R&D in Netanya, Israel. Outbrain has raised $18MM to date and is backed by a group of wonderful VCs including Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Funds, GlenRock, Lightspeed Venture Partners & Rhodium.