What Publishers Need to Know About AI
Last week, Publishing Executive hosted a webinar in which we spoke with two experts about how publishers can compete with the kind of sticky user experience that leading platforms like Facebook offer by employing artificial intelligence.
We had a lot of great questions throughout the webinar but we weren't able to answer every last one. Boomtrain CEO and co-founder Nick Edwards took a few minutes to answer some of publishers' lingering questions about AI. Check out the Q&A below and click here to watch 7 Steps for Publishers to Get Started With Artificial Intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence and how does it affect publishers today?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computing that allows machines to do tasks normally done by humans. This is accomplished by creating programs that have the ability to learn and adapt to achieve an objective. In our case, Boomtrain’s AI is designed to learn how to best engage each individual reader with the exact articles -- sent through the right channel at the right time -- that will be most relevant. It’s like hiring a personal editor for each individual reader to curate the perfect reading experience.
For publishers, this is not about robots replacing humans. The role of great editors, writers, and reporters is more essential than ever. The right AI can augment and extend the capabilities of a human editor to deliver more meaningful experiences for readers.
What are the operational savings by employing AI? Is it more economical is some way? What are the revenue enhancements?
If you’re manually curating emails or push notifications on a daily or weekly basis there can be a considerable time savings simply by allowing the AI to automatically curate and individualize each notification.
Additionally, the fact that the AI can understand and predict the best and most relevant articles for each reader means that they are more likely to read, read longer, and share what they read with friends on social networks. Our customers regularly see 100% or more increases in email engagement rates and 50% or more increases in social sharing rates.
Do you see resistance in companies adopting an AI solution?
There’s always resistance to new technologies. The most common resistance is from editors who mistakenly fear that they are being replaced. The reality is a good AI augments and extends the reach of great editors.
What do you think of Facebook's chatbot as a platform?
I believe Facebook’s chatbot platform and chatbots in general will be an interesting yet ultimately niche extension of publisher’s digital presence over the next several years. The chatbots that will be most impactful will incorporate AI and be able to act like a smart news assistant by intelligently answering questions based on the publisher’s content such as “Why is Syria in a civil war?” or “What is a good paleo recipe for dinner?”
Are publishers finding that their subscribers are sensitive to receiving targeted content?
In this day and age consumers expect and prefer targeted content. There’s a good reason why Facebook is the most engaging site on the internet -- it’s content is completely targeted for each individual user. Having said that, it’s important that publishers are transparent with their data privacy.
Can you say a bit about how the tech on this works? What does the implementation of this look like for the publisher?
Is this approach primarily targeted to print/legacy publishers, digital publishers, or both?
Both. While legacy publishers have the advantage of a brand and revenue stream from their legacy publishing business, they’re long-term survival depends on their complete digital transformation.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.