We were thrilled to read IMNA executive director Earl Wilkinson’s recent article on Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has been highly contested lately, and questions still surround its use. How are we harnessing it? Is it too dangerous? Will it be so disruptive that companies have to rethink their business models?

We will get to that in a bit, but first I want to revisit something.

Used correctly, Artificial Intelligence can greatly enhance online content.
Used correctly, Artificial Intelligence can greatly enhance online content.

In previous posts, I talk about how publishers need to look for automation solutions to drive digital video revenue and improve the user experience. Automation is the answer to so many publisher problems. It reduces the stress on the editorial staff and provides quality video, which improves the user experience. And, when done correctly, it can drive more users to your site. Both users and advertisers love quality video, and you need to find a way to get as much of it as you can in your articles.

But not all automation is created equal.

One of the largest challenges with automation is ensuring the right video will populate in the right article so the audience gets the best possible experience.

Many providers have failed to produce a long-term and sustainable solution, which forces publishers to revert back to manually embedding videos one by one into each article. This results in a very labour-intensive process when a publication like USA Today or the Los Angeles Times publishes hundreds of articles daily.

Along with that, ROI on certain digital video can be low. More and more users are turned off by “words and pictures” video that have been dubbed “glorified PowerPoint presentations.”

The same can be said for certain quick-to-produce talking-head content. A recent article from Digiday looked at several sports publishers that made a shift to video with non-official content only to see their visitors dwindle down over time.

This is where a pivot to AI comes into play. I realise there is probably a knee-jerk reaction when most people think of AI. Images of robots stealing jobs and one machine doing the work of hundreds of people probably come to mind. But the truth of the matter is AI has been around for years.

In fact, it’s probably affecting your revenue without you even knowing it. Advertisers have used AI for quite some time to target consumers, and it is now becoming the primary method of delivering creatives.

The Harvard Business Review released a recent survey showing early adopters of AI are 3.5 times more likely to grow their profit margin than those who aren’t. Along with this, the report says business can succeed by partnering with a firm that has already developed AI products that reflect an innovative solution in their field.

Companies that implement AI in their methodology will flourish. Those that ignore it will be consumed by it. It’s time for publishers to harness this power for digital video.

Several third-party video providers use AI. At SendtoNews, we just wrapped up beta testing our Smart Match technology. This is a feature added to our player using industry-leading AI to scan articles and match keywords with videos in our library. Almost instantaneously, the matched content is populated in the article. All publishers need to do is copy and paste one embed code that is used across their entire site to instantly have the most relevant content from our library featuring official content from leagues like the NFL, MLB, NBA, and more.

When you think of how long it takes to hit ctrl-v on your keyboard, searching for the right video inside your CMS seems like an eternity. And if you auto-populate the embed code in your article CMS, the work is already done for you.

AI like this combined with automation lets publishers focus on what they do best: creating quality writing for their audience. Implementation like the STN Smart Playlist and others make it so editors and writers don’t suddenly need to become experts in video production, coding, and content management.

Harnessing AI for a digital video strategy can prove to be instrumental for publishers who want — and need — to thrive in a digital environment.