A content distribution grudge match: Facebook vs content discovery platforms

In today’s online landscape there’s a saying “content is king”. Whilst the idea that the Internet’s ecosystem naturally allows more interesting and relevant content to rise to the surface and get clicks and/or views, the truth is that it’s a myth.

In reality it’s likely that for your content to get out there and be viewed by the right people you’re going to have to spend just as much - if not more - on promotion as production.

In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of using different tools for amplifying content online, including social media platforms such as Facebook, or CDPs (content discovery platforms) such as Outbrain's Amplify DIY Dashboard, which launched this summer in the UK. We’ll focus on how to accurately and efficiently distribute your content - assuming that it is already useful and brilliant, of course.

Facebook

The standard go-to for many businesses looking to promote their brand is Facebook and Twitter. We’ve outlined the strengths and weaknesses of Youtube, Twitter and Facebook previously on ITProPortal, and because Facebook’s platform is designed to effectively market to its users we’ll focus on it here.

Pros

  • Precision: The greatest strength of sites like Twitter and Facebook is the sniper-like precision of sending your message to those who are very likely to be interested. Due to the size of its database Facebook is incredibly accurate with locating and marketing to your target audience.
  • Interaction: Social media is exactly what it says on the tin, the nature of the medium requires interaction between fans of the brand and the brand itself. This means that you get instantaneous feedback from customers and clients allowing you to quickly adapt to your target audience.
  • Focus: Because Facebook can be so accurate with finding your target audience your content can be more complex and knowledgeable. You know who’s reading your content and can therefore create in-depth, specific content that will demonstrate more knowledge than a less focused approach.

Cons

  • Cost: Facebook’s cost per click (CPC) is markedly higher than other distribution platforms. With a CPC of roughly £0.30 to £0.40 each visit to your content can add up to a terrifying amount.
  • Sustainability: A social media campaign is a constant struggle to stay relevant and topical, due to Facebook’s algorithms old content is quickly pushed into the void mere days or hours after posting. This means that you’ll either have to already have a lot of material or be ready to produce lot of material during the run of your campaign.
  • Attention span: Typically Facebook users will scroll straight past your post when they realise that it’s a sponsored post. Facebook is, for many, a pastime for relaxing so if your content is not immediately entertaining it may be useless.

Content discovery platforms

A CDP is another option in getting your content out there. It works by organically displaying other people’s content next to or under yours, for example at the bottom of this page is “More from ITProPortal”, which contains links to other stories around the site and “More from around the web” which finds content from other sites using the same CDP as us.

A popular content discovery platform is Outbrain, which recommends content, personalised to each individual user by using unique algorithms that ensures relevant and targeted content is surfaced. Marketers can use Outbrain to drive audiences to their content on a pay-per-click basis.

Outbrain's new DIY Dashboard also allows content creators of any size – both marketers and publishers- to amplify content at any scale. Content can be uploaded directly, with online payment processed by credit card.

Pros

  • Visually discrete: The majority of people hate being sold to, so things that scream “advertisement” are likely to be ignored. CDP platforms tend to integrate into your website's aesthetic in an organic way, and offer a range of visual options to suit your type of content.
  • Recirculate users: CDPs help keep visitors on your site by recommending content from your own site. With CDP services like Outbrain's DIY Dashboard you cancan select RSS feeds or specific conten, so you can highlight a certain section of your site or, for example, drive more visitors to video content.
  • Cost: Compared to Facebook and Twitter the cost of using CDP is cheap and you can set how much you’re willing to spend on a click and set a daily budget which keeps your marketing budget in check and in control.

Pro/Con

  • Broad Reach: Using a CDP will mean that your content may appear on other websites that use the same CDP as yourself. Some CDP services are used by sites with heavy traffic such as Forbes, The Guardian and Rolling Stone, providing a much broader platform for your content. However although more people may see that your content exists they may not click through. It's likely, however, that the algorithms behind the platform will recommend content that individual readers are interested in.

Cons

  • Lack of Control: If Facebook is a sniper-like approach then CDP is a shotgun. With most CDPs you have very little control over where your content shows up. However it has to be said that with Outbrain you can blacklist up to 10 per cent of sites and target users with its unique algorithm.
  • B2C: CDPs are a B2C (business to consumer) service, which means that your content is unlikely to be clicked on if it even hints at being an ad OR does not look entertaining. If your enterprise is B2B (business to business) you may using CDPs to market your content ineffective.

…And the winner is

This article has just scratched the surface of CDP with different services offering a multitude of unique customisation options and guidelines for what content they’ll push.

Ultimately it boils down to answering the question “Do you know exactly who buys your product?” if the answer is “yes” go for Facebook , however using a CDP service like Outbrain may help you discover demographics you never knew existed and show your brand as a thought leader in your field.