Bibblio Uses AI-Powered Recommendations to Drive Reader Engagement & Learning
Taking its cue from media giants like Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube, startup Bibblio recognizes that high-quality recommendation is the future of content consumption. Bibblio wants to improve the quality of publisher recommendations by using artificial intelligence (AI) and transforming how readers discover learning content. The startup offers a B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that enables education publishers to recommend the best-written content for their users. In the following interview, Bibblio founder and CXO Rich Simmonds explains why Bibblio was created and how it’s helping education publishers provide the right content to readers when they need it most.
Who are you?
Bibblio is a SaaS tool for publishers and content providers to recommend the best content for their users on their platforms. Our story began in 2014, with the realization that the internet has plenty of great learning content, but no reliable way to find what you want most when you need it most, and this is a problem for content businesses as well as users. So we created a tool to allow content providers to surface the best content for their users on their platforms. Bibblio aspires to be everybody’s online librarian -- bringing thoughtful, relevant content to users on a platform when they need it, without them having to ask.
What problem are you solving?
When users arrive on a platform they often don’t know what will interest them the most, and providers don’t know how to show them the most relevant content. This leads to unfulfilled, disengaged users and companies that can’t solve this problem will lose their markets. This is the reason why the world’s most successful companies have adopted recommendation as a primary driver of engagement. With good recommendation, audiences get the most relevant content delivered to them, and the risks of losing them to frustration or boredom are drastically reduced.
Bibblio solves these problems for clients on their platforms by using AI to understand the user’s area of interest and find the most relevant items for them from the provider’s catalogue. This keeps them engaged and exploring content.
Too often for a publisher to implement a project like content recommendation, it takes a long RFP procedure with numerous consultancy firms and then six months to deliver anything. Bibblio is a plug-and-play API product, so clients can get up and running in hours, not months. Our monthly subscription model means that if it doesn’t meet their needs, they walk away without an expensive albatross around their necks.
How did you come up with this idea?
The evidence for the importance and effectiveness of recommendation means it’s no longer an option for news and publishing to ignore this source of highly engaged users. This is particularly true considering the ongoing question of how to remain a content destination in a world with Facebook in it. Some companies will be reduced to sources of Facebook redirects.
We realized that while there were recommendation options out there for publishers, they all focused on popularity to the detriment of relevance, or were based on unsophisticated keyword matching. There needed to be something better for creators of quality, evergreen content, whose users cared about more than just a Top 10 list. There wasn’t -- so we built it.
What are the most important trends in publishing today?
Businesses are aware that high-quality content is important in a crowded market for users’ attention, but they often miss the fact that a high-quality user experience is also essential. Friction in finding and interacting with content leads to disengaged users. Matching a platform’s aesthetic and an intuitive interface are now key qualities for any user-facing SaaS product. I’ve devoted almost 20 years to creating engaging user experiences through interface design. We deliver elegant as well as effective tools for our clients.
Who is your competition?
Although we have a knowledge/learning focus, we’re not competing with adaptive learning platforms like Knewton. Whilst they are targeted at purely goal-oriented learning like test prep, Bibblio’s recommendations work in unstructured and informal environments as well.
So we are catering for a fast growing segment of high-end knowledge/learning platforms and publishers in the informal space, who aren’t well served at the moment by systems with either an entertainment or adaptive learning focus.
We’re developing our capabilities for working with video, as well as more sophisticated personalization of our recommendations and the ability to create optimized ‘user journeys’ through content. Stay tuned for some exciting news in the new year.
Related story: 7 Steps for Publishers to Get Started With Artificial Intelligence
Rich Simmonds is the founder and CXO of Bibblio, a recommendation platform for learning content.