Many websites and publications recommend articles and other content to their readers based on a "content-centric" basis, said Lancellotti-Young. If someone reads an article about Andy Murray, for example, it is assumed that they will be interested in other articles about tennis or Wimbledon.
What is more effective, she said, is taking a "user-centric" approach, whereby the publisher can understand what each individual reader and audience member likes or does not like, then recommend articles on the learned reading habits on a basis of one-to-one personalisation.
"Just because you read the Andy Murray story once doesn't mean you're really interested in Andy Murray," she told Journalism.co.uk, "we just saw that you read about it one time. We're interested in the stuff you read 5 or 6 times."
On sites like Business Insider, which uses the Sailthru platform, a "recommended for you" section at the end of an article suggest further content which may be of interest based on an individual's browsing habits. If there were 100 possible articles and four content slots, it could give the website a possible 3,921,225 personalised variations.
"What you can do with one-to-one is make sure the story that typically would have been number 70 in the queue gets surfaced to a person who is actually very likely to consume it," she said.
"Not only does it give airtime to writers and stories that previously wouldn't have got that, but it makes sure the page views are going to come with it because you're putting that content in front of the person that's most likely to consume it."
The software, which picks up on the tags in articles as a user reads them, can also be used for anonymous browsers or readers who have not signed in.
"Where some publications have 90 to 99 per cent anonymous traffic we begin to personalise within that browsing session based on the IP address of someone coming there," she said, adding that personalisation is easier for anonymous mobile users as behaviour can always be linked to a device's specific ID number.
Using the example of Celebuzz, Lancellotti-Young told delegates that there had been a three-fold increase in page views per visit on the site after it had switched to user-centric recommendations and a four-fold increase in "site-driven sign-ups" to the site's mailing list.
An email list of subscribers is important on both an editorial and business level said Lancelotti-Young, who explained that Sailthru can streamline the process by automatically generating personalised emails to subscribers based on their reading habits and further information.
"The New York Post is a big client and they've seen a 90 per cent efficiency gain in their ability to not only build emails but to actually send hundreds of different variations of any given email in a particular day," she told Journalism.co.uk.
"The natural reaction there is 'doesn't that take away the job of the editorial team?' And we don't think so, because it gives the editorial team more time to focus on the strategic and analytical activities," such as understanding what content works or focussing on SEO, "that really drive incremental revenue to the business," she said.
Personalisation can come from any range of "smart" data: geo-location, information on when people open emails, what devices they use, understanding interests through social media connections and other basic criteria like gender, age or household information. This has obvious relevance to advertisers, she said, but also helps the editorial team better understand their audience.
"We want to make the editorial process more efficient and more relevant to each end user," she said, "because we feel that a user-focussed approach to the business drives more value but it's also very important for us to leave an element of control on the table."
In that respect, she said many publications take a hybrid approach. The core of a website or email newsletter will always remain under editorial control in highlighting the most important stories to the publication, but any secondary content can be personalised to what each reader may be more interested in.
"We're sensitive to the fact that lots of these publications have excellent journalists there and they've been editors for a long time," she said, "so we want to give people the opportunity to take things in the direction that is going to be most appealing to them."