Breaking Down Content Silos by Integrating Videos and Products into Recommendations

grain silos

These aren’t content silos, but you get the idea.

Today’s publications do more than just publish text stories.

For instance, a huge number of publications also produce videos, and a growing number are combining content with commerce.

Too often, these content types exist in separate silos inside a publication. The closest these content types get to one another is cuddling on a little used navigation bar, where a user who clicks on Videos gets taken to a special portion of the site or off to YouTube.

Since our goal is to help sites build engagement and loyalty by getting the right content to the right reader, we wanted to solve the “siloed content” problem.

So, we’re proud to announce that we have extended our recommendation technology to include video and product recommendations in the related section when they are actually related.

A publisher might have hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers, and millions of views on their videos.

But when a reader clicks a link from Facebook or Twitter to visit an individual story on the publisher’s site, the publisher has no clear way for that reader to even know the site creates videos — let alone show off one related to the current story. This is especially true on mobile.

In May, when we officially launched Contextly, we announced a new way of powering content recommendations for publications of all sizes. That approach marries curation tools to wickedly smart data analysis.

We’ve now been able to use that same smart data analysis and recommendation system to provide a far more comprehensive set of recommendations for publishers that make videos and sell items.

Here’s a few screenshots of what that silo-breaking looks like on one of our publishers, Adafruit, which is a DIY site catering to the Maker generation:

On this awesome story about how to make a Fire Tie:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 2.25.16 PM
We show these items in the recommendation section:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 2.52.54 PM


The Fire Tie is built using the NeoPixel Matrix, and you’ll see that product displayed in the two leftmost boxes. Adafruit’s NeoPixel Matrix YouTube video appears in the third position.

When the reader clicks on the video recommendation, they can see how the NeoPixel Matrix works, an experience you can’t get from viewing images or reading text. The video plays in an overlay and does not take the user off site.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 2.53.15 PM

You can see another example of our videos on this story from iPhoneHacks.

Why We Do It

For those who aren’t familiar with Contextly, our mission is to help high quality publishers build a loyal audience in the age of drive-by readers.

We do that by providing recommendations — related, trending, evergreen and personalized — that give new and returning readers great experiences so that they will return to a publisher’s site.

We’re excited to announce the video and product features, and we’ve got more great announcements coming soon.

If you are the kind of publisher that’s looking to build that an audience that loves what you do, and returns to your site, check out our page on how you can get Contextly’s content recommendations for your site.