Collectif Top Stories
5 mins read

“Using AI, conversion rates increased 15x”: Turbocharging audience engagement with artificial intelligence 

AI is already starting to make serious headway in terms of customised personalisation experiences. However, outside of the very biggest publishers and premium specialist vendors, many publishers simply do not have the resources to harness AI effectively. Bridged Media aims to change this…

Generative AI using LLMs is already seeing massive adoption within numerous publishers and media companies. From transcription services, automated video creation, and sophisticated modelling to uncover hidden stories within datasets, the uses of AI are multiplying with each passing month.

Yet whilst media companies such as The Washington Post and Trusted Media Brands have set up special interdepartmental task forces to look at AI, many publishers don’t have the resources or bandwidth to leverage AI effectively – certainly not in-house. Moreover, many of the current crop of AI vendor solutions are premium priced and, once again, are out of the grasp of middle tier publishers. 

One company based out of London is now addressing this “clear gap in the market” and aims to rectify the AI competitive disadvantage suffered by many mid tier publishers. Ahead of December’s Mx3AI event in London, we met with Bridged Media’s CEO and Co-Founder, Maanas Mediratta, to discover more about using AI for audience engagement.

Can you tell us a little more about your company’s background?

I am a tech entrepreneur by heart and already had a successful buyout in Bangalore, India with a car pooling solution that I sold to Uber’s biggest competitor on the subcontinent. I subsequently came to do my MBA in Barcelona ten years ago and that’s where I met Bridged Media’s CCO and Co-Founder Rishabh Lohia.

It became very clear to us both, after much research, that media companies have lost a lot of control over their businesses especially in terms of the tech they now have to add on to remain competitive. So we started with the ambition of how we could create an AI solution that can give publishers more control, one where they can simply plug into a system and generate value quickly by leveraging their data.

Can you expand on what you mean by lost control of their business?

Middle tier and smaller publishers are at a serious competitive disadvantage because larger media groups will already have a data management system, a customer experience system, an ad exchange, an analytics team, etc. But when you go from the top 100 downwards, many publishers won’t know what solutions will fit their business, which software to use, and even worse, their data will often be in separate silos. Some publishers don’t even know how to test out any other strategy than they already have. 

So we founded Bridged Media to address these problems, and create different modules that can help publishers use AI and data to turbocharge their audience engagement. 

Could you explain more about using AI for audience engagement?

We’re using AI to create more engagement within a publisher’s website. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, each publisher is different and we use different AI-generated engagement elements to achieve this – for example, whether it’s a poll, whether it’s a quiz, whether it’s a chatbot, whether it’s a dashboard, all personalised to each reader. 

It’s not too different to the strategies used by social media companies to attract, retain and engage their audiences – it’s all about individual personalisation. By doing this you enhance your on-page SEO, time spent on-page, the number of engaged sessions, and so on. 

It has a big impact on audience data too….

This data must be more valuable for advertisers too?

Absolutely, it allows you to have much stronger relationships with advertisers. 

I was surprised when I was doing customer discovery that 19 out of 20 publishers have little idea how to monetize their data because they don’t even know where their data is or what that data looks like. That’s not necessarily their fault either, because most execs are super busy and already overwhelmed with so many tasks, especially with data. 

Whatever your business model, whether it’s advertising driven, subscription driven, etc, there are engagement drivers that can be unlocked by AI to your competitive advantage – that’s where we come in. 

Can you give us an example of your solution in action?

Without giving names away, one U.S. publisher asked us to address their recirculation rate which was underperforming. Just 0.03% of users were clicking onto another piece of content on their domain, basically three out of every thousand people. By using AI and personalisation tools, we increased this 15X. 

We’ve reached an era in publishing where the efficacy of banner ads, etc are in serious decline. It’s now all about personalisation and engaging users on the page in the most individual way possible. AI can unlock this. 

A serious side benefit of this is that the more you can personalise a website, the more valuable the data, and this is more valuable for advertisers, etc. It’s a virtuous circle of monetization. Enrichment of data is now key for every publisher, and again, this is where we come in. 

Data also allows publishers to boost other revenue drivers such as collecting emails, driving memberships, signups and subscriptions. It allows them to capitalise on when the propensity to act is high and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, personalise it to each session.

We’re so confident in our ability to deliver results that our ‘no code’ solution is priced at a very modest fee and we charge per conversion for a lot of the use cases. 

What’s your roadmap for 2024?

A key upgrade will be that our tools will soon support any language, as well as supporting different personalised journeys within different languages. We will also continue to become format agnostic whether it’s written content, video, audio etc – and that’s an important part of our roadmap too.

AI is not going to replace any job, but it will give any publisher a compelling advantage.

Maanas Mediratta, CEO and Co-Founder, Bridged Media

What do you feel is the major challenge facing media groups when trying to implement AI across their operations?

One challenge is really knowing what you really want to do and defining a clear use case, defining KPIs. In short, asking, “What is the actual outcome you want?”

And the second challenge is, of course, the data aspect – making sure that your data is not misused, that your data does not go somewhere where it can feed into a bot or some sort of LLM that’s training it. In short, ensuring your data has some sort of an SLA or framework around it and that it is being processed as per the data governance strategy. That’s crucial. 

If you don’t have data, you only have hope, and hope isn’t a strategy.

Maanas Mediratta, CEO and Co-Founder, Bridged Media

Each mid tier publisher should also have a light team that knows its AI objectives, knows how to monitor data governance, and which can manage different use cases with different vendors. That’s the ideal scenario. 


Join us for Mx3AI in Hoxton on Thursday, December 7th where select industry decision-makers will come together to discuss the latest AI developments. Topics cover the big picture, magazine, B2B and news media, technology and monetisation, policy and regulation, the workplace, content management and journalism, and practical implementation.