Differences between Personalization and Content Discovery Platforms

During 2018 Yusp proved to be the better performing solution over the Content Discovery Platform compared at Hungary’s leading publishing house. (the second largest News and Media website in Hungary, with over 400 million page views/month on 20 sites) decided to test the methodology of Personalization vs. Content Discovery Platform in order to find out which approach helps to execute their strategy in a more efficient way. Origo has already started a fruitful Personalization partnership with Yusp in 2010, therefore only one of the most known Content Discovery Platform (CDN) vendor was invited to prove it’s capabilities.

While both the state of the art Personalization Engines and Content Discovery Platforms provide personalized recommendations for the visitors, the approaches are different, which has been leading to confusion for publishers. Discovery Platform providers tend to offer their recommendation engines free of charge in exchange for some advertisement placements on the site and they share the revenue coming from the displayed advertisements with the owner. The compared solution’s business model also works like this: they provide recommendations from the site’s native content in part of the recommendation placements, while in the other part, they provide external advertisements. They offer the recommendation engine free of charge and share the revenues from the displayed advertisements with the publishers.

Yusp — and the Personalization Engine providers — only focus on native content, providing better user experience, reaching greater conversion and by these building a longer and more valuable relationship between the site and its visitors.

Origo’s ultimate goal was to find out which approach is more lucrative using a Content Discovery Platform and providing the option for the users to leave the website in exchange for a free recommendation engine and shared advertisement revenue, or working with a state of the art Personalization Engine that keeps the visitors onsite, builds loyalty and increased advertisement opportunities through the additional content consumption.

Extensive A/B testing in an equal environment

To be able to see the two approaches side by side, Origo calculated how much benefit one pageview brings to them during a live A/B test. An equal environment was provided for both approaches where the returning visitors were divided into two, same sized groups and the new visitors were assigned equally either to the CDN or to the Yusp group. The length of the test was 1.5 months.

For 50% of visitors, the Yusp engine provided three articles in a single recommendation box, while for the other 50% of visitors — served by the CDN — one advertisement and two articles were shown. Origo compared the two approaches by calculating the amount of shared revenue provided by the CDN, to the revenue which was generated by the visits and additional page views thanks to Yusp, also, taking the service fee into consideration.

Personalization delivers 132% more clicks

While both solutions constantly fine-tuned their algorithms, Yusp significantly provided better results by providing over 2 times higher total number of clicks.

Number of clicks during the A/B test

Even though the Content Delivery Network is offered free of charge plus revenue sharing from advertisements, it failed to compete with the additional revenue Yusp brought by the fact that users were staying on the site and consumed more content.

According to Balázs Gosztonyi — Managing Director, leading the test – ,”At as a publisher we are strategically stuck in between ad-revenue generation and boosting user experience. With this test we managed to compare two solutions: one with only indirect revenue potential and one with direct and indirect effect as well. Although many things like ad-revenue per page view, placement on page, content in the recommendation box among others all have an effect on the outcome, in this particular test we concluded that Yusp provides a better compromise of revenue and experience than the Content Discovery Platform”.

It’s important to note here, that the 1.5 month-long test was able to show only the short-term influences of the two approaches. The decision makers at Origo — due to the lack of time — could not calculate with the long-term advantages of using Yusp, such as the customer retention, the wider capabilities or the customization skills of the personalization engine.

As a clear winner Yusp continues its partnership with Origo and currently working together on extending the scope of personalization in order to further leverage the power of personalization. Today Yusp is implemented onto seven websites of New Wave Media Group’s portfolio providing cross-portfolio recommendations. This solution lets New Wave Media Group leveraging its visitors in the most efficient way and at the same time providing greater user experience to them.