Shortpedia launched in 2017, has been offering snacky content with a ‘news on the go’ approach. Mayank Jain joins as its Chief Product Officer, responsible for the company’s product innovations and drives revenue at the same time. Jain comes in from Dentsu Aegis Network as Group Head – Media. At Shortpedia, he is responsible for the advertising experience and user engagement on the app. Jain has been leveraging his keen understanding of Digital platforms, AI and programmatic advertising to create world-class advertising product at Shortpedia. Content is a very interesting space and the sky is the limit. In this world of clutter, it is difficult to find credible and authentic information; at Shortpedia, we are absolutely committed towards authenticity in driving at fresh hand-picked content, clutter-free environment and a phenomenal user experience while evolving every day to cater to our dynamic audiences.
Medianews4u in conversation with Mayank Jain talks about the USP of the app, potential of audio content use of AI.
You have had a great run at Dentsu and worked with some high voltage clients? At shortpedia what kind of learnings will you bring to the table?
We all know that branding matters, it’s one of the key aspects of any business – B2C or B2B. No matter what size your business is, you need an effective brand strategy to give you a razor-sharp edge in today’s competitive markets. I had an in-depth understanding of brand strategies while at Dentsu and handling a fairly varied portfolio. Media remains the biggest chunk of a brand’s spends and the media plan, therefore it is designed with much consideration. Communication messaging is important, but if the media strategy fails the campaign doesn’t work. Since I have been on the other side of the table, I understand a brand’s expectation from media, which is what I hope to leverage at Shortpedia.
In terms of your product, what are the unique features that you have augmented and what kind of user engagement do you think this will garner?
Engaging your audience with your content is very challenging in the digital space where cutting clutter is always an uphill task. Hence our main focus is user engagement and retention. To achieve this, we are building in house tool that can help us in understanding user behaviour with the help of Data & AI. Of course, it’s important to constantly analyze how users are interacting with your app in order to ensure that they remain engaged. You can use these insights to optimize your future campaigns.
How is AI being leveraged for your product?
Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning is what everyone is resorting to. If you are a company with only digital presence then you have to make this your ally.
We are using the AI at various level of product, such as building recommendation engine which shows user interest content first. This aspect has readily bumped up the user time spent on Shortpedia. Other areas where we are adopting AI is automation in the summarization of new short format is our USP. We are also using AI to find trending topics that help us plan our bouquet of content better. Generating audio piece for every news item, one of the newest additions to our features is also being fine-tuned with the help of AI.
Shortpedia is clocking good numbers on the app- what according to you is
the clincher as far as the number game is concerned?
Content Marketing to my mind is the key factor that works in user acquisition. Since our utmost focus is a user engagement and adding new users to our universe every minute we put all our strength in upping the ante as far as content is concerned. Creating, compelling and relevant content to promote the app can help you reach more potential users.
Elaborate on the listening feature and what kind of difference has it made to your product?
Audio is the key differentiator, however we are constantly engaged in R&D to come up with better features which will help in user retention and engagement. The idea is to get into the daily life of the user and make us a habit for him or her. Audio currently is a very popular feature among our audience where they listen to news and updates on the go (Driving, Gyming, Walking, etc). How many of us can separately cull out time to read? News is largely becoming an on the go product, you carry digital with you, which is why the boom. If books have taken this route it is evidence enough that audiences can no longer be addressed as readers. Also, it reduces screen times and helps in stretching the attention span.
In an era of content marketing, what kind of a future do you see for news and that too short format?
I think we are in the era of the new way to consume content now. With the current pace of life, consumers are looking for clutter-free and simple ways to get information. News still prevails to be one of the top searched content for many and it will remain so. While the future is all about trust, transparency, and smart-brevity and clutter-free, still are driving forces. Content marketing, I believe it is designed for clickbait and the number game, news cannot just rely on that, it goes beyond.
Marketing initiatives and how are you reaching to your potential consumers?
Firstly, in this cluttered content environment, we are trying to create our niche. We are focusing on relevant content and not just short format content. So it’s not about just reading in short format, but smart and relevant content. Our communication plan reflects our USP’s and basic ethos. Secondly, the audio content i.e news on the go will be something that we will be focusing on in our upcoming campaigns. We want to become a part of the existing lifestyle and fit in to trigger conversations with relevant smart contents and formats. Downloading is not the objective, evolution is.