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Can Netflix-Style Personalization Help Your News Org’s Homepage?

Dynamic_Yield_LogoThis week, Dynamic Yield announced a new personalization feature to it’s “automated real-time customization engine.” It’s a mouthful, but it could mean new things for your homepage.

Using automated A/B testing, the software helps your website offer a super personalized experience for a user based on their habits and clicks on past visits. CEO and co-founder Liad Agmon says that it helps editors solve the problem of deciding what they want users to see (like Vox’s vegetables) and what users usually click on.

Homepages shouldn’t be generic, because the user that comes to a site via a shared link on Facebook is very different from the one who arrives at the homepage through the url, he notes. Why shouldn’t you cater to them? If you know that one user reads long features, but another is just watching your video content, you can also adjust paywalls to be more fair and more attractive to users.

It’s a little like Netflix. Agmon agrees that much of Netlfix’s success comes from all the data they can garner about what users want. There’s no reason that model can’t apply to news. In addition to giving readers what they are more likely read, it also plays devil’s advocate in the native advertising department. The whole point of native is to make it fit into your brand as seamlessly as possible. With Dynamic Yield’s software, you could potentially go to another level — not only does it work with the brand, but you’re also showing the type of advertising content that the reader is going to pay attention to, and then stick around on your site.

In addition to just curating the homepage, news sites have archives of content that can be “recycled,” according to Agmon. So the photo essay from a summer 2013 travel essay can turn up again, engaging and building that relationship with a certain type of reader.

You can learn more about how it all works here and if you can explain A/B testing in 140 characters or less to me, please do so @10,000 Words.

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