What happens when the seventh biggest company in the world finds out that you’ve been using an artificial-intelligence system to maximize your performance on their platform?
At Soph.io, our mission is to help organizations identify their most valuable content and ensure that it’s shared at the right time and place with the right audience, leveraging AI.
Facebook found out we were doing this, enabling The Globe and Mail to better engage Facebook readers by selecting which stories should be shared on the site and when. It turns out AI is really good at this. Facebook was impressed enough to publish a case study on their website last month. The highlights are that through Sophi’s artificial intelligence, we posted 3 times as much content, with no drop off in engagement, and digital subscriptions were up 27%.
Why does this work? We recognized that simply posting stories as they’re published is a poor way to engage users. We began to leverage the key strengths of AI: it learns remarkably quickly, understands your audience extremely well, and can make more lightning-quick decisions than people ever can. These small optimizations add up to huge differences at scale.
So, how does it work?
1. The Globe and Mail produces a lot of content, up to a couple hundred stories every day.
2. Throughout the day, Sophi is constantly posting content to our Facebook page.
3. As users click on articles, they arrive on article pages that Sophi is constantly optimizing to drive recirculation and engagement.
4. Sophi’s fully dynamic real-time personalized paywall analyzes both reader behaviour and content to decide when to present the option to register or pay for Globe content – and when to let the reader continue uninterrupted.
5. As new stories are published throughout the day and new readers engage with our content, Sophi Site Automation optimizes everything again, continuously.
From this workflow, there are millions of combinations of what content to put in front of readers at different times and on different platforms. Sophi is also continually evaluating how much of any particular topic can be posted at any time. It’s also making sure that as new stories become available, the most valuable stories are posted at the right time, so our Facebook page is more than just a duplicate feed of the stories posted to our website. And when we drive traffic to our site, Sophi is working under the hood to ensure those readers are more likely to go deeper into our content by showing them what they consider relevant.
A few weeks ago, a potential client understood the value of constant optimization, and exclaimed: “What planet are you guys from!?” In my 11 years in enterprise sales, it was one of the most memorable aha moments I’ve witnessed.
And what was Facebook’s reaction when they found out that we were using Sophi to optimize our social media posting? They decided to join us - and we’re now working together to help other publishers with their social media posts and subscriptions and expect to have another case study out within a few months.