Here’s another startup trying to turn content recommendation into a business: Ideal Media.
Similar in concept to Outbrain and Taboola, Ideal Media works with publishers to add a recommended content unit to their pages. Then it makes money by including sponsored content in the mix. You can see an example in the recommended content under this photo on the OneBigPhoto site (there’s a screenshot below). Director of Sales Matthew Mosk told me via email that Ideal Media is building customized, native integrations, so the look will change from site to site.
Mosk added that Ideal Media’s units won’t just work on the web but also on mobile, social media, and tablets, and that it has “a highly targeted channel strategy (automobiles, sports, tech, health, women’s, etc). “But the real differentiator, or at least the one he emphasized, is the fact that the company isn’t just promoting content but helping customers create it, too — the Ideal Media team will offer free content marketing services to its advertisers.
Why is that important? Well, Mosk said his company will be able to create content that’s actually interesting and relevant, rather than just being a straightforward ad:
Many brands are just realizing that web users are ignoring display ads and becoming aware of the value of a more subtle and nuanced approach, Content Marketing. Also, web users are becoming so savvy that they become super frustrated when they click on a link that they think is a story, but ultimately leads them to a blatant ad (which happens on some Content Discovery Networks). Ideal Media is bridging that gap.
(Unfortunately, Mosk wasn’t able to provide me with a sample of Ideal Media’s content-creation skills, so I can’t firsthand whether the content in question is actually better than most ads.)
And yes, Mosk said Ideal Media plans to continue offering content creation for free, though it may start charging for more premium content marketing services.
Just to compare, I also asked Outbrain if it provides any content marketing services of its own. A spokesperson told me that the company doesn’t write any content, but it did acquire Scribit, which allows customers to search for content from publications like the Huffington Post.
Getting back to Ideal Media, the company was founded by Eder Holguin, whose past roles include serving as the chief revenue officer at the Virtual Fan Network. It’s funded by Holguin, along with friends and family. Update, December 2016: Current CEO Alex Baron said Holguin was neither a founder nor investor in the company.