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Deep-Linker URX Expands Into Related Ads/Content “Carousels”
New mobile content discovery option offers linked “cards” for tickets, songs, merchandise or other content.
When you finish reading this story, maybe your attention will still be hovering for a few seconds around this story topic. That’s the idea behind the growing realm of content discovery services like Outbrain and Taboola.
Today, San Francisco-based URX steps beyond its origins in deep linking for mobile apps and introduces its vehicle for steering your attention to related ads and other material.
Called AppView Carousel, it appends several text/image/link cards in a scrollable sequence at the bottom of content on mobile web pages. Although it usually provides four to six such cards, there’s no limit.
Editorial content in Entertainment Weekly about Beyoncé, for instance, can have attached Carousel cards for tickets to buy on SeatGeek, songs from Spotify or T-shirts and other merchandise on Wish. The Carousels are available for mobile browsers on either iOS or Android devices. (The following links will show the Carousels when seen on the mobile web: Travel & Leisure and Dancing Astronaut.)
Although the new URX offering is called AppView Carousel, the cards can actually lead either to another mobile web page or into an app. URX vice president of marketing Mike Fyall told me that URX previously had a single-button product called AppView that led from mobile web only to an app, and this new product continues the label.
The publisher determines where the link goes, if the same content lives on both. If the app is not yet installed, the publisher can decide whether to send the user to the mobile web version or to an app store to install the app, and thence to the appropriate app screen.
The three-year-old company, Fyall said, was “founded to use deep links to unlock content in apps” and is now extending its mission of content discovery.
The destinations — like SeatGeek or Spotify — are advertisers or content selected by the publisher. URX’s technology parses the content you’re reading and predictively chooses appropriate targets for that page within the partners.
A publisher can add non-commerce editorial content on their own, if desired, or another site or app as destinations.
Advertisers and publishers are experimenting with a wide variety of value-added ads these days in the hope that users will see some ads extend the content and experience in useful ways — and so will decrease their use of ad blockers. Last summer, for instance, mobile ad network InMobi launched its Miip content/product discovery platform as an alternative that goes beyond ads.
Fyall also told me something else that goes beyond normal digital advertising: His company is not employing user profile targeting. He added that “we’re collecting no user profile data.”
“We want our algorithm to work based on what they’re looking at,” he said, pointing out that URX has “no short-term plans” to collect or utilize user data — unless a publisher specifically requests.
“We care less about whether it’s an old person or a young one, or their gender,” he said, than about what they’re reading.
Advertisers pay based on clicks or on actions like registrations or purchases, not on impressions. Fyall said “hundreds of publishers” have been experimenting with the Carousels during the previous several months of a beta period, including Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Disqus, Dancing Astronaut, and FanSided. Advertisers in the beta included StubHub, Airbnb, OpenTable, Spotify and Lyft.
While Fyall said the Carousels have led to increased engagement, he added that URX is not ready to make public any performance stats.