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Contextly Review and Interview (2022)

Contextly is an ultra-handy content recommendation system that analyses the relationship between your content and your audience. It takes an analytical approach to learn how your audience interacts with each piece of content you publish, be it text, imagery or video. 

I reached out to Ryan Singel, Contextly’s co-founder, to dig a little deeper into Contextly and its services.

How Did Ryan Come Up With The Idea of Contextly?

Contextly started life in 2011 as a means of solving a specific problem that Ryan had. He explained “Contextly started as a way to solve my own problems at Wired as a journalist and editor. Wired’s editorial policy was to link our newest stories to our previous coverage, but that involved multiple windows, a “site:wired.com” search on Google, and lots of clicks. I started by making a one-page webapp to make that simpler, but the links were still static – we added them to the end of the story text”.
Ryan continued “It occurred to me one day, that these links should be dynamic, so that older stories point to new stories, and that these were relationships that belonged in a database. That led to Contextly”.
Contextly is an intriguing idea and one I think most publishers will find invaluable. 

What Exactly Can Contextly Do For You?

Contextly effectively recommends to your audience what content they might like. They do this by analysing the level of audience-engagement of previous related content, as well as using cookies to detect what types of content the site visitor has previously seen or interacted with. Their servers are specially-equipped to calculate the relationships between your content, your website, and your audience. 
Contextly is also able to dig out popular, but old, evergreen contents and bring them to life again. 
All this results in a seamless user-experience. Your audience is only recommended content that they are likely to be interested in.

Here To Help Their Clients

Contextly has built up an impressive list of clients. They have some stellar testimonials featured on their homepage from happy clients claiming the service has been “crucial” and “fantastic” for their businesses. 
Privacy is also extremely important to the Contextly team. Ryan explained “We’ve built a sustainable business, providing a an-ever-improving service, without compromising our commitment to respect for readers and their privacy”.
Ryan also explained “From day one, we’ve concentrated on helping good publishers build a loyal audience. Even as Outbrain and Taboola flooded the market with chumbox “recommendations” and using venture capital money to overpay publishers, we’ve never veered from our build-readership-by-respecting-readers philosophy. 
We’ve also built on that with innovative products such as Channels, which let readers subscribe to updates on selected topics on a publisher’s site, without the publisher doing any extra work.
We’re also not venture-funded, and have been profitable for many years now, so there’s little chance we’re going to disappear or sell our company to a bigger one, only to be shut down a year later”.

Contextly Plans and Pricing

Contextly plans are not as expensive as you might think, considering how lucrative it can be for a business. Prices begin at just $9 per month or $59 per year. This is ideal for websites with 50k or less page views per month. Ryan told me that this plan is Contextly’s best-selling option. Furthermore, choosing to pay annually, instead of monthly, gives you a discount of 10%!
Beyond that, there are “Artisan”, “Startup”, “Business”, “Professional” and “Enterprise” plans, each having their own page-view allowance. 
Additionally, Contextly invites customers to try their unlimited plan for free for 21 days!

Some Features Of Contextly

Contextly has a multitude of features that make it not only excellent value for money, but also essential for businesses wanting to maximise visitor retention and the impact of their contents. Let’s take a look:

1. Analytics Galore

Analytics are a must-have for optimising your content marketing efforts. Contextly delivers daily, weekly, and monthly analytics reports to your team. Your reports will include details of your top-performing content, and the tags and categories that are working best for you, both in search engines and on social media.

2. Manual Or Automatic

As a Contextly client, you are in complete control. It’s entirely up to you whether your linking process is automatic or manual. You can also opt for automatically-inserted sidebars, or manually add them yourself with ease.

3. High-Impact Designs

Your webpage design has a big influence on your visitors. Contextly are highly-skilled at designing and creating responsive displays. Select which one you want to use and customise it to suit your preferences.

4. A Range Of CMSs

Contextly supports a range of CMSs, including WordPress. Ryan clarified; “While most of our customers use our WordPress installation, we also support Drupal, Ghost and custom CMSes. We have enterprise-level offerings as well, such as cross-site recommendations, product recommendations and custom API integrations”.

Contextly's Long, Bright Future

Ryan spoke of his vision for the future of his company; “We will continue building out our vision of publishing tools that help readers and publishers, and be in business for at least another decade”. 

After speaking with Ryan and looking at Contextly’s services, I can conclude that I think that they are a must-have for businesses. They can help website owners to connect with their audiences on a more personal level by displaying content they actually want to view. I think this is a fantastically intuitive service and I would highly recommend it. 

Thank you Ryan for taking the time to speak with me!

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