Just a few years ago, it seemed the media industry was in trouble as newspapers shuttered, publishers scrambled, and presses went quiet. Today, the thing that seemed destined to kill content – the internet – is feeding its growth and cementing its value.
Tired of dwelling on the death of print, creators of all kinds are exploring the unique opportunities afforded by digital. They are taking advantage of flexible media like YouTube, Tumblr, and Vine to directly shape and share their stories through technology. Some of the most well known journalists, who for years filled print pages with content, are striking out to play in the more expansive digital world.
And content is no longer just the domain of publishers: New storytellers have arisen in the most unlikely of places – like the energy-drink company who flew a man to the edge of space just so the world could watch him jump.
These creators are weaving a digital content web, and we’re just beginning to explore the strange and magical threads that connect the world’s stories.
What does all this mean for us?
This explosion of content presents us all with a unique challenge: How do we stay informed, find signals through the noise and fight our fear of missing out?
Content is being produced at a record pace – with no slow down in sight – and yet we still expect to discover content we can trust to be interesting, relevant, and timely. ‘One size fits all’ no longer satisfies the marketplace. Our expectations are all different, as are our unique definitions of “interesting.”
It’s this challenge that drives Outbrain.
Outbrain is a content recommendation platform. For the past several years, we’ve worked with tens of thousands of premium publishers to connect individuals with the most interesting content on the web. Our platform serves over six billion recommendations to hundreds of millions of people every day.
Never heard of us? We look something like this:
Why do we do what we do? Well, it’s no secret that Outbrain loves technology: most of our over 350 employees are engineers and invested in R&D. But more than that, we love content. We spend our days exploring new websites, reading the latest from our favorite writers, getting carried away by breathtaking new videos. We’re trying to take in all these stories. In reality, we face the same challenge as you – and we’re eager to develop solutions.
We want to increase the amount of quality content consumed online through simple, streamlined discovery.
Our years of experience have allowed us to start building a unique, complex understanding of the web’s spheres of interest, and how to make recommendations based on those signals. We do this by balancing personalization with intelligent serendipity. Much like the experience of reading your favorite magazine, the most interesting next story is often unrelated to what came before. People don’t want to be told what to like: we want to discover, to make new connections. Outbrain’s mission is to provide people the best new content, in line with their interests, but with room for something new.
More simply: We’re trying to connect the dots. We want to narrow the discovery experience even as we widen our view of the world.
Every day we’re learning something new. We need to continually push ourselves in order to satisfy our partners and readers. It’s clear we’ve only scratched the surface of pinpointing what an ideal content discovery experience should be.
We don’t have all the answers, but we do think there’s a better way forward.