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Content Recommendation Best Practices in 2024

by admin

Content discovery is essential for publishers looking to boost audience retention and monetize their websites… and despite the emergence of new technologies such as touch screens, HTML5 animation, dynamic content loading, up until now recommended content has looked something like this:

The above developments in tech have changed the face of content recommendation as we know it. And recently, we’ve been seeing a few big platforms getting content recommendation right. How can you, as a publisher, maximize your content and offer the best user experience? Well, look no further because here are the top three things you need to ace content recommendation in 2024.

1. Multitasking

The picture-in-picture view for video, rolled out across Facebook and YouTube, has been developed with the multitasking generation in mind, as it lets viewers keep watching or listening to video whilst accomplishing other tasks. Optimized for content discovery, video can be minimized to the corner of the screen so that viewers can browse through more content simultaneously. Currently, Facebook and YouTube are using this feature in their in-app video strategy. Seems like they’re onto a winner, given that 90% of people multitask and our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish (8 seconds, just so you know).

Why is this so important, you may ask. Well, not only does this bump up page views, video completion rates and time spent on your website, but it also makes the user feel more in control of the content they consume. Big win for UX and your stats!

2. Dynamic Content

Traditional recommendation widgets have met their match in dynamic content. Much more eye-catching, dynamic content is displayed as a swipeable carousel widget on mobile and a pop-up list on desktop, rather than fixed-position picture-text recommendations. Adopted by Facebook and Outbrain, the recommended content widget effectively ‘pops up’ upon exiting an article or video (Facebook) or when reading an article on mobile (Outbrain).

Facebook, in particular, has succeeded in making their recommended ‘People Also Shared’ articles and ‘Suggested Videos’ highly visible in news feeds by featuring images alongside the number of times the content was viewed or shared. While the UI is impressive, Facebook has yet to improve its algorithms to prevent often suggesting the same article from different sources.

3. Autoplay playlists

Autoplay video has been a fairly controversial subject since Facebook introduced autoplay for their in-feed videos and users started racking up big phone bills. It looks like it’s here to stay. Now, not only have most content providers adopted this feature, but we have seen the emergence of autoplay video playlists, a continual stream of video content. And, although this has led to an exponential increase in video views, it has also brought into question the level of authentic engagement and user experience. Whereas platforms formerly displayed a choice of several pieces of content, users are now pushed to watch one specific video… and often without a preview.

This led to autoplay video once being nominated the most hated digital ad tactic. In order to put some control back in the hands of the user, a limited number of platforms, such as YouTube, have included a 10 second countdown feature at the end of videos. This gives the viewer enough time to choose from other recommended content before defaulting to autoplay. Arguably the best compromise, a delayed autoplay lets publishers maximize video views while improving the user experience of their website.

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