MarTech Interview with Alon Rosenthal, CEO & Co-founder at WhizzCo

In an overly crowded digital content marketing space, the right content recommendation engines can play a big role in driving publisher and end user interests; Alon Rosenthal, CEO & Co-founder at WhizzCo discusses more:


Hi Alon, welcome to MarTech Series; tell us more about WhizzCo and your role at the company?

WhizzCo provides publishers with content recommendation yield optimization, which means that we make sure that our publisher partners are generating the most revenue by serving the best and most relevant content recommendation ad units from any or all vendors to their users.

As the CEO and founder of WhizzCo, I lead strategy and manage our product, development, sales, and marketing team leaders. I also represent WhizzCo to our investors and the broader marketing technology industry.

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What was the inspiration behind setting up the WhizzCo platform?

A few years ago, I was looking to generate maximum revenue from content recommendation ads for my websites. I had worked with a range of content and advertising technology companies for over ten years, and am a big believer in digital content marketing. I knew there had to be a better way to market content using tech. Specifically, I didn’t understand why content recommendation vendors couldn’t bid for my impressions like vendors for the rest of my ad opportunities – via programmatic, real-time auctions. 

Though most of the digital ecosystem had migrated to open and real-time bidding for user impressions, content recommendation was stuck in the early 2000s with most publishers locked into exclusive vendor contracts. 

Unfortunately, not much has changed since we founded WhizzCo in 2018. 

Publishers are still losing significant revenue because exclusive contracts create an uncompetitive environment. 

Marketers also lose in the current market structure. Because most publisher traffic is via exclusive contracts, marketers are forced to have relationships with all 40 content recommendation vendors if they want access to all content recommendation opportunities.

WhizzCo is opening up the content recommendation market by enabling publishers to work with as many content recommendation vendors as they want. Our technology analyzes geolocation, device, site, widget layout and location, and historical performance, selecting the content recommendation vendor with the highest predicted CPM and serves its ad to the user. 

As the need for deeper analytics and insights grows, what kind of business intelligence and data will become more crucial for publishers in the future?

Metrics that are important to publishers include the time spent per article, as well as per content type and category, according to user and device. This kind of data will enable publishers to be smarter regarding the type of content they offer users according to time, channel, device, and platform to ensure they are best serving their users. 

Our approach to content recommendation is similar. We make sure our publishers are serving the content recommendations users are most likely to engage with, thus increasing publisher revenue while protecting the user’s experience.

What are some of the upcoming innovations and functionality that we can expect from WhizzCo and how has your solution been helping publishers?

Expect to see WhizzCo more active in video content recommendation, a growing category for the company.

We’re also working on a number of initiatives that will focus on improving the quality of content recommendation ads so that more leading brands increase their investment in content marketing. We believe there are opportunities to improve ad quality and increase publisher revenue simultaneously. 

Already, by enabling publishers to work with as many content recommendation vendors as they choose, we’re able to increase publisher revenue significantly. Think about it. If you only have one store to buy clothes in your town, you’re limited to what’s available in that store. But if you can shop in a mall with 11 clothing stores, you’ll spend more money because you have more choices and opportunities. It’s the same way with content recommendation. By giving publishers a broader range of ads to integrate, we’re enabling them to generate more revenue, as our data has proven.

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From your perspective, how will the publisher–advertiser relationship evolve in the coming years?

We believe that the publisher–advertiser relationship will grow closer as publishers create solutions that enable advertisers to sell online more easily while increasing publisher revenue. 

One such initiative is the push many publishers are making to offer e-commerce to their site visitors. This enables the publisher to generate revenue from affiliate commissions while providing advertisers with a more efficient way to sell online, often via dedicated and advertiser-friendly content areas. 

I also believe that publishers will package anonymized first-party data as a way for advertisers to improve ad targeting in our increasingly more privacy-friendly advertising ecosystem.

How has the content recommendation market evolved in the last few years and what can we expect in the coming years?

The fact that this year the two market leaders have gone public and the third-largest company was acquired highlights the growth potential of the content recommendation market. 

That said, we believe that there are opportunities to grow the market significantly more by raising the quality of the advertising through the creation of advertising environments more conducive for premium brands. 

In the coming years, we expect to see the vendor-specific walls that currently exist in content recommendation come down as the industry works together to create an open environment that will enable all advertisers to bid across publisher traffic for the most relevant advertising opportunities.

A few last thoughts and takeaways for marketing leaders and CEOs?

As we’ve learned over the last decade, content is indeed king. And now we have an opportunity to open the content recommendation market like the rest of digital advertising. We can open the market by breaking down the walls built by individual content recommendation vendors to create a thriving and competitive content recommendation market for advertisers, publishers, and users.

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WhizzCo enables fair and transparent competition in the native content recommendation space.

WhizzCo CEO and co-founder Alon Rosenthal is an online marketing and monetization expert.  He also co-founded and led Mobite Media Group and continues to serve as a strategic advisor to young technology companies in the advertising technology space. 

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