Visual Revenue Founder Dennis R. Mortensen Hijacks Your Homepage For Bigger Ad Dollars

Okay, maybe “hijack” is too strong a word–but Visual Revenue’s “front page automation platform” gives media companies a scientific new tool to position their websites for the highest possible ad revenue.

It’s not, well, news that print advertising revenue is in free fall. Newspaper advertising peaked in 2000, and in 2010 was down more than 50% from its highest point. Of course, online ad revenue is trending higher–but it’s nowhere near enough to make up for print losses. Ask any editor laid off after decades of inky newsroom toil, or freelance writer churning out $125 blog posts to scrape by–any extra revenue you can squeeze out of existing online media sites properties would come in awfully handy.  


Visual Revenue CEO and founder Dennis R. Mortensen sees this current roiling landscape as an opportunity, since thinning margins require smarter strategy. Visual Revenue specializes in predictive analytics to help online media companies decide what to put on their homepages and section fronts. Using a tool he calls the “front page automation platform,” editors can see what Visual Revenue’s algorithm predicts will be popular with readers, and therefore generate more revenue with advertisers; the system can either automatically update web pages or allow editors to agree to suggested moves and changes.

“If you walk into the trading room of Deutsche Bank today, you’ll see 200 traders looking at Bloomberg terminals, and they’ll not decide to sell or buy a stock without informed decision support,” says Mortensen. “If you walk into the newsroom of the Associated Press, The New York Times, or The Washington Post, you’re not seeing 200 editors with terminals trying to decide what do we put on the front page today. You see people with good judgment trying to decide what is important. We don’t think that is the way forward.” 

Click “play” to learn more about how Visual Revenue works–and why Mortensen thinks it can help media companies capitalize on their best ideas.

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About the author

Erin Schulte is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Fast Company, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Entrepreneur, among other publications. You can find her on Twitter @erin719nyc.