Three companies — Yieldbot, JumpTime, and Outbrain — are among those who offer news and media companies differing approaches to better reader engagement. Each has its own story to tell, and each is emblematic of a wider trend in the industry: mastering how the digital business is oh-so-different than print.

Now as sideways traffic — greatly multiplied by Google, Facebook, and Twitter links, mentions and touts — has become recognized as the way things really are, publishers need new understanding. There are real, discernible patterns of behavior, if you crunch a lot of data, and these companies can show it to you on graphs, scatter charts, clusters and more. Let your online presentation people link stories or sections they wouldn’t have otherwise linked. Let your audience management people make longer-term decisions about how valuable that Facebook traffic was compared to that Google traffic. Let your ad staff have the ammo it needs to prove out the kind of visitors who are attracted to certain site sections.

“Sure, we’ll show you where your readers come from and where they go off to, but the real question is what they do when they get to your site. What’s happening at this moment,” says Jonathan Mendez, CEO of New York-based start-up YieldBot. Mendez, a self-described “crusader for relevance,” was a principal at ad optimizer Offermatica before it was sold to Omniture in 2007.

[...] Full article at The Nieman Journalism Lab

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