It’s a tricky word, engagement. Tough to define, even tougher to measure. But for publishers it’s essential and, in today’s disrupted publishing ecosystem, harder than ever to achieve.
WNIP caught up with Ilan Leizgold, Co-founder and VP Business Strategy for Tokabot, a content management and distribution platform, through which a publisher, or content owner, can provide content directly to subscribers using AI infrastructure and state-of-the-art algorithms.
The company is based in Tel Aviv, one of the most influential tech innovation hubs outside of Silicon Valley.
WNIP: You’ve come onto our radar through your harnessing of AI. Can you give us some background as to why you have developed Tokabot?
Ilan: Users nowadays are being wooed by so many types and sources of content that to actually get users’ attention, publishers must go to great lengths. Another challenge is keeping the reader within reach. Today’s apps, or websites for that matter, find that the users are impatient and quickly go elsewhere if they can’t find the content they’re looking for.
So, in a nutshell – we need to answer the question: Where are the users? And what does it take to keep them with us? If we solve this – we solve the engagement problem.
WNIP: Of course, this is a problem all publishers have.
Ilan: A user spends his time wondering around 5 apps on average. The first 4 are the common ones – Mail, Social, Calendar, Chat. The fifth spot is being competed for by all the rest.
So, if you’re a sports fan, for example – it’ll be crumbs of time spent on each – scores, news, highlights etc. On the flip side – the user spends up to 6 times more in his social chat, talking to his actual friends, about those topics which are being published in the traditional channels. So, if we can tap into those chats – we will be able to access the user’s attention for a longer span of time.
The second aspect is the “How” – if you can create an interactive way to reach the user – the engagement is much more significant. And if you’re able to do it in the right context and timing – you’ve struck gold.
WNIP: OK, your logic is intact but how does your solution address this?
Ilan: Tokabot’s solution is all about the engagement of group conversations. It is a unique content management and distribution platform through which a publisher can provide content directly to subscribers – via use of a “Virtual friend” who is invited to the user’s chat platform.
By using our AI technology, we can get much more of a user’s attention, as well as plan and distribute content to coincide with real life triggers and events, or around what happens in the chat.
It’s there to push relevant interactive content, it’s there to answer questions around a certain topic, it’s there to keep the user engaged. In a way, Tokabot can be viewed as the next generation of platforms such as Taboola or Playbuzz – brought into the social chat domain.
WNIP: What else do we need to know?
Ilan: Three additional, extremely important side effects, are the direct channel we’re establishing for the user and his group, the potential of going viral, and the analytics that provide not only the profile of the user, but also the unique understanding of each group’s dynamics. We believe this is the future of engagement.
WNIP: Who are you working with and who is testing Tokabot?
Ilan: We are currently implementing our concept focused initially around sports, testing it in two variations: directly to football fans in the UK, and with a few high profile sports and media partners in Germany. We are also about to close a deal around the World Cup with another significant partner in the sports ecosystem. The market is reacting positively to our solution and we’re eager to expand the system’s rollout quickly.
WNIP: How can people learn more about what you’re doing?
Ilan: Perhaps a good starting point is our introduction video which whilst aimed at sports content providers, is relevant for all publishers, especially those with a high degree of social interaction. The concept is the same. Interested publishers, especially the football fans among them, can also try out Tokabot Football.
WNIP: Good luck and we look forward to catching up with you in due course.
For more information, Ilan can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org