3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Change Publishing

Change is happening all around us, and one of the biggest drivers of change in the digital world is artificial intelligence (AI).

We can’t listen to a tech CEO keynote without stumbling on how they are using AI for a variety of products or innovations. Smart publishers are also beginning to embrace AI. They are weaving it into the core of their business — to inform and improve content, advertising and product.

The benefit of AI to readers is that it can be both interactive and anticipatory. When one thinks of anticipatory, content recommendations might come to mind.

Many publishers are already using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to power content recommendations because it helps increase traffic and user engagement. But some publishers are taking it much further, such as Quartz’s app for iPhone.

Launched late last year, the app is innovative in the context of publishing and a nod to what is already achievable using the technology. The app, which lets readers chat with the news, was built as a new experience just for mobile. It imagined how their journalism would be if it lived natively on an iPhone.



Chat with the app, and it sends you content based on your preferences and conversation. 

AI can also be used to inform and better tailor the ad experience. In the Quartz app, readers can also engage with the ads as they would with the content.

Just like AI can anticipate a reader’s content needs and push the right content to them, AI can also anticipate their advertising needs and do the same.

This is not to be confused with retargeting, which follows and reminds the reader. At present, I am toggling between my document and the Weather Channel. An ad, targeted to me, with a real-time and personalized message from say Häagen-Dazs ice cream is completely relevant right now.

AI allows us to understand in real time the information needs and preferences of both the individual and the organization, then tailor both the content and advertising messaging, accordingly. Each interaction delivers a tiny grain of insight, which directs the next action.

While advertising now might be considered competitive and/or intrusive to content, AI-informed advertising will be much less interruptive and anticipatory--pushing the products you need, when you need them.

For the advertiser, this has the potential to be powerful, helping them meet specific business challenges.

Finally, AI will also inform the publisher’s own business model, tailoring offerings individually for readers. For example, Financial Times uses predictive analytics to correlate revenue to content usage and conversion rate to engagement.

It’s early days, but AI is already making a sizeable impact on our business.

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