Yahoo has launched a new visualization tool that offers some insights into how it chooses what content to show on the Yahoo home page and other properties. It offers data that should be of interest to anyone in the news/publishing space.
The data comes from Yahoo’s “C.O.R.E.” — which stands for Content Optimization and Relevance Engine — and the nifty visual tool can be seen at visualize.yahoo.com/core.
Controls on the left offer demographic data; you can see what content was viewed by age or gender. On the right, you can limit the data to interests (news, finance, sports) or a list of seven U.S. locations — Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia and the Bay Area.
Here’s how Yahoo explains the C.O.R.E. algorithm and how content is selected for display on Yahoo properties:
Today, C.O.R.E. powers content on many Yahoo! properties, including Yahoo! News and the Today Module. There, editors write and gather the most important and engaging stories of the day, and C.O.R.E. determines how stories should be ordered, dependent on each user. Similarly, C.O.R.E. figures out which story categories (i.e. technology, health, finance, or entertainment) should be displayed prominently on the page to help deepen engagement for each viewer.
But it’s not all algorithmic; Yahoo’s blog post explains that manual action was taken when Osama bin Laden died to make sure that news appeared to all Yahoo users.
Since C.O.R.E. launched in 2008, Yahoo says its users click on the “Today” module on Yahoo’s home page four times more often than before, and more than a billion times per month.
Aside from the cool/curiosity factor, I’d think that anyone involved in daily publishing would be intrigued to see (and track) what content resonated the most with different types of Yahoo visitors.
Yahoo has a similar visualization tool for Yahoo Mail. And there’s also the underrated tool for marketers called Yahoo Clues — not the same slick visualization interface, but good demographic data related to how Yahoo users search.