Boasting a 900 per cent growth over the past 18 months and now delivering a staggering 100 billion recommendations every month, it’s not surprising that the boss of market newcomer Revcontent is in bullish mood about the business’s plans for the coming 12 months. The fact that Revcontent entered the competitive recommendation market nearly eight years after its main competitors – and is selective about the sites it works with – makes it all the more impressive that CEO John Lemp predicts it will be the market leader inside a year.
“We’re already among the largest and fastest-growing native advertising and content recommendation platforms in the world,” says Lemp, whose previous business was affiliate network Clickbooth. “At present, only two other platforms – Outbrain and Taboola – can generate the massive numbers that we do and, with a focus on premium technology, selectivity and customer service, we believe we have changed the future of the rapidly evolving native advertising space. Our goal is to be the largest content recommendation platform in the world.
So how has Revcontent made such rapid inroads to a market that has until now been dominated by two players? Lemp says the difference is that Revcontent is “completely focused on performance”.
“We approach the service we provide from a total performance standpoint,” he says. “That’s really important to us. A lot of firms are just trying to get clicks – any clicks. That’s very narrow and, if you do that, you allow the clickbaiters the chance to come through – resulting in low-quality placement of clicks. Our focus runs much deeper. We understand the image, the user-flow, and where users are going. Our clients want traffic to their content but it is much more compelling than just driving clicks. We’re not just trying to get a person to click on to a site regardless of whether they then bounce straight off it again. We are trying to get visitors into the content on that site and really engaged with that site. We are levelling the playing field for publishers because we are creating the greatest opportunity we have seen for people to get their voices out there through publishing – whether that is online magazines, online news and editorial, for example.
A selective approach
Lemp adds that such an approach delivers real benefits for publishers – and that he is driven by the ability to give people an opportunity to get their voice heard:
“Our competitors haven’t been monetising effectively,” he says. “That’s where my passion really comes from. I want to enable and empower more people to get their voice out there. The other issue is that our competitors are trying to lock clients into exclusive deals. We have a lot of guys who would do exclusive deals, but I want them to have the freedom to make as much as they can and to find the best possible partner they could ask for. Quality of content is another thing we really look at. We put the control back into the publisher’s hands. We are the only people out there that give you the option to go and adjust your content on the fly. We’re the only people that have that. We’re patenting that, because we’re currently the only ones doing it. But it doesn’t seem like a complex thing to me.”
In a practical sense, Revcontent’s commitment to working only with what Lemp refers to as ‘premium sites’, means turning down sites that don’t add value and avoiding simply playing a numbers game. In fact, more than 98 per cent of the sites that apply to Revcontent are denied – because the business believes maintaining an exclusive network creates better site usability and a better user experience. The results are immediate, Lemp feels, and include reduced bounce rates and enhanced engagement. Most importantly, quality content recommendation leads to a loyal audience, generating enhanced revenue for advertisers and publishers, he says. As a result, Revcontent’s engagement team looks for at least 45 million visits a month and good user experience from potential partners.
“When a person buys traffic from us, they know they are going to get three-to-four times the results of other players.,” says Lemp. “That’s why we are never going to be on 80,000 blogs. All the other sites brag about being on 80,000 blogs because it’s a big number and it looks great. But we turn down 1,000 sites a day and we are the most selective people out there –because we are focused on that performance aspect.”
Failure to do so, according to Lemp, would result in too many ‘cheap clicks’, which will in turn lower the CPC value – meaning that, in the long run, the premium publishers pay in terms of RPMs. Our approach means that, although we have the same advertisers in our network – the same guys as Taboola and Outbrain – they are willing to pay three-or-four times the price on our network because of the performance.”
Despite its selective approach, Revcontent is working with plenty of the major players – from NBC News, Yahoo and Match.com to Forbes and Answers.com. And, just recently, Newsweek has entered into an exclusive, multi-platform partnership. But Lemp says the business won’t rest on that.
“We have to keep growing and keep moving forward – to keep offering more value to our clients,” he says. “That’s why we have recently launched Revcontent v2 and the Revcontent Widget Optimizer. These are the first steps in providing a completely customized widget solution for our partners. By creating a more customized experience, users are more likely to stay engaged on the site. This results in higher CTRs, longer sessions, and increased revenue. It allows for the removal of ads that users don’t respond well to, lowers bounce rates and increases page views per session.
On a mission
Technology is clearly at the heart of the enterprise, and Revcontent recently enhanced its tech credentials by hiring technology industry pioneer Rick Landsman as its new Chief Technology Officer. Landsman brings years of experience and industry leadership and will lead the Technical Development Team at the front line of reimagining native advertising. This is the next step in providing Revcontent partners with a selective network and premium technology that drives revenue, Lemp says.
And he adds that such appointments will help the business achieve its overarching aim of leading the market in the near future:
“It’s true we have seen a 900 per cent increase in growth in the past year, and that’s all the more impressive given that we came to the market eight years after some of our competitors. But we can definitely continue to grow,” he says. “What we do is all driven by data, so we know we are continuing to move in the right direction and I think the more we do, the more publishers can see that we deliver better performance. I was quoted recently as predicting that we would be the largest content recommendation platform in the world within the next 24 months. But I’m willing to revise that now: I’d say we could be the largest content recommendation platform in the world within the next 12 months. All we do is ask publishers to test our business against the competition. With RPMs as high as $40, the results are clear for them to see.”
This post is sponsored by RevContent.
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