Algorithmic Content Curation and Enhanced Email Newsletters: How Conde Nast Uses AI
By Mike O'Brien | February 18, 2020
A 110-year-old media giant, Conde Nast encompasses 18 beloved brands including The New Yorker, GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue. With 80 email newsletters apiece, these publishers collectively send about 400 million emails a month, contributing more ad impressions per capita than any other traffic source.
How can any email marketer keep up with that volume? Artificial intelligence.
AI and machine learning, a branch of AI that applies statistical analyses and algorithms to large volumes of data, mean that editors no longer have to spend their days setting up these emails. Conde Nast maintains user profiles that contain individual readers’ content preferences. Algorithms make curated decisions based on those profiles, creating personalized email newsletters. The stories selected by algorithms showed an 88% lift in clickthrough rates, according to Andrew Perell, director of email strategy and operations at Conde Nast.
Some of Conde Nast’s achievements with AI are explored in Beyond the Hype: How Marketers Can Capitalize on AI, a Sailthru-sponsored whitepaper from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
One key takeaway from is the importance of understanding your use cases before investing in AI. Define use cases first and figure out how AI will help you achieve them, rather than the other way around. “There’s a temptation with any new and exciting technology to put the cart before the horse — to look for a technology solution before you really understand your problems and goals,” he says. “That’s how you end up with something like AI chatbots but fail to capitalize on the full potential of AI.”
Perell has tapped into AI’s full potential by being open to new ways of thinking. Conde Nast titles have traditionally taken an authoritative approach to content, such as what to wear and where to travel. That’s not the case for today’s readers, who have all the information in the world in their pockets.
“AI flips that on its head. Now the readership assumes an ‘influencer’ role. It’s our job to help editors understand how their own content curation can be supplemented — not replaced — by smart decisions made by algorithms,” says Perell.
Download Beyond the Hype: How Marketers Can Capitalize on AI to learn more about how Conde Nast uses AI to drive business results, and how you can do the same.
2020 Holiday Marketing Playbook
With all that has happened this year, we expect to see a holiday season unlike any other. That said, the time to start testing and building out email and CRM strategies is now. Along with our Retail Advisor, former JustFab VP Monica Deretich, Sailthru has developed this playbook to help retailers crush Q4 and beyond.
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