We’ve seen a lot of changes over the past few years when it comes to the appearance and distribution of online content. Publishers wanting to create emotional and authentic content experiences have been turning to a new generation of tools like digital storytelling platform Apester.
The company has quickly made a name for itself with embeddable content such as polls, video, quizzes and slideshow versions of blogs and articles. Apester content now runs across 1,500 publishing partners including AOL and Huffington Post, Time Inc., Fox Sports, CNET, Telegraph Media and Sky News.
I spoke with CEO Moti Cohen who tells me about his approach to entrepreneurship and interactive experiences.
SS: What trend in content creation and consumption fascinates you most and why?
MC: I think we are living in the most exciting time for content since the invention of the telegraph. These days, we can truly say that the experience of content consumption is digital first. For the very first time, digital content has been freed from the shackles previously chained to print formats. It is entirely independent now, ever changing, and beautifully surprising – to the extent that nobody can accurately anticipate what it will look like 10, 5 or even 3 years from now.
SS: What inspired the inception of Apester?
MC: I’ve always loved innovation and technology, and was fascinated by things like game theory and behavior analysis. Also, as a music junkie, I craved experiencing content differently, more through sight and sound and not just through the printed word.
All these things came together for me and inspired the birth of Apester.
I could see that the traditional form of articles, and even videos, weren’t exactly optimized for the mobile or social age. The gaming industry has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing basic elements of human psychology and behavior to navigate and satiate its audience. They seem to have cracked the code and know how to influence a gamer to act (or not act) on something. These same elements can be utilized within the scope of digital content.
SS: What is happening right now that makes Apester relevant?
MC: The urge for people to share content and express themselves is constantly on the rise. We want to share our stories. We’re wired that way.
How we share stories is also changing. Once upon a time, we sat around a campfire. In the age of publishing, we wrote books and articles. But, today with social media and other technology, we’re all publishers. And this is an amazing thing because sharing our stories brings us together and makes us more human. With that in mind, people on the hunt for innovative tools that permit new mediums of expression. That was the motivation for Story, our latest platform which easily allows one to capture elements of a story in a seamless and visually pleasing way.
SS: How are the solutions Apester offers different than other businesses that deal with interactive content?
MC: We see ourselves as a kind of mediator between readers and publishers. Some products have readers in mind, but don’t necessarily benefit publishers. Others are publishing or advertising tools that lack the ability to really enhance the experience of visiting a site. We say everyone must benefit from the online experience.
We know that by adding elements to the page to spice things up, readers will stick around longer. But there are also plenty of studies that show that interactive content activates the audience and adds the user’s voice to the story. So, for us, it’s really about trying to repackage the story in a way that’s more aligned with the way real people communicate amongst themselves.
SS: What’s your vision for the coming years at Apester?
MC: I’m really pumped about developing new platforms that redefine how content is created, consumed and monetized within the digital space. I believe we can be the go-to platform for any content creator, big or small, who is looking for ways to transform their stories into visual experiences to suit the contemporary world we live in – a faster, more crowded, informed and much more connected world. Whether it be big publishers, individual bloggers or just a person with a phone and some friends, we would like to be the vehicle in which content moves around.
SS: Do you have any morning rituals that help ignite your day with motivation and inspiration?
MC: Music is my therapy, I usually start my day with a huge mug of bad coffee and blast music for 30 minutes, try to read and relax, regroup, before I jump on the rollercoaster again.
SS: What is the best (or worst) piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
MC: As an eternal optimist, I’ll go with the best advice I’ve ever received: “Focus is your judge, jury, and executioner and by extension, ‘yes’ is your magic wand, so use it wisely.”
SS: You described yourself as a music junkie. Is there a relationship for you between music and what you’re doing now?
MC: I started playing guitar at the age of 14. I’ll never forget the first time I played with friends: I literally had goosebumps. That was the hook! For years to follow, we continued jamming every Friday night, the primary audience being ourselves…. And it was magical!
I see a distinct overlap between what I was doing then and now. Making music and putting it out into the world is one of many forms of storytelling. Every time we share via social media platforms we are essentially story-sharing and storytelling too! Apester is another vessel for doing so!