Loomia is a content recommendations service, used on sites such as the Wall Street Journal and PC World. We've profiled Loomia's Facebook app before, which tracks what you and your Facebook friends are reading on Loomia-supported sites and then shows you what content is most popular among your social circle. Loomia has recently started to focus on revenue-driving recommendations for its media clients, as well as getting more active in the video industry. In this post we take a look at what Loomia is focusing on in 2009, which is an indicator of what media websites must do to ramp up this year.
On media websites, Loomia is most commonly seen as a widget that recommends content. For example, in the WSJ screenshot to the right, the contents of this widget are obtained by measuring the popularity of the content, user behavior, data about the content itself (for example its topic). For some of the publishers which use Loomia, there is a social element too.
Loomia is similar to Sphere and another app we reviewed recently, Apture. These services all aim to serve up more clickable content options on media websites - which means more user engagement and time spent on site for publishers.
We spoke to Loomia CEO David Marks and asked him how Loomia compares to Sphere, which at first glance appears to have much in common with Loomia. Marks said that Sphere is trying to do "semantic classification", i.e. analyzing the content of an article and recommending further content based on the findings. However Loomia focuses more on the user and so it does behavioral type recommendations. This can result in a more diverse set of topics, because users typically have a range of content preferences. It depends on the article though, said Marks.
Loomia currently has 2 types of deployment:
- Content (e.g. WSJ)
- Video (e.g. Brightcove)
Marks told ReadWriteWeb that video advertising is currently selling well for big media publishers. Accordingly these publishers typically now want to drive users to their videos - and Loomia has a widget to do that.
Marks told us that a lot of their publishers are "dollar focused" this year, therefore recommendations have become more than just an interesting feature on a website - they can drive more advertising dollars. As an example, Marks told us that a media website's Finance section may sell out with ads, but its Politics section may not (fairly common in big media websites). But the Politics section tends to get bigger page views, so to address the imbalance Loomia's recommendations widgets can drive users from Politics to Finance.
We've been looking at how recommendations are being used in the retail sector a lot, and Loomia is a neat example of how the same technology can have real value for the media segment. Let us know in the comments what other recommendation technologies have caught your eye in publishing.