Content marketing is hard.
In addition to understanding your audience, you need to create a tone of voice that suits your business, change that tone depending on how long you’ve known the prospective customer, and create original output with enough emotional impact to make them click, tap, or say “yes.”
You see, content marketing (a subject close to my heart) differs from any old content because it is designed to generate a response and — ultimately — lead to revenue.
Today, Persado — a content generation platform that uses machine learning, natural language processing, and math to help generate content that converts — announced that it has closed a $30 million Series C round to help automate content marketing production.
How does it work?
Persado combines natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to generate the precise combination of words, phrases, and images that can help to motivate any audience, at scale and in real time. It generates this ‘cognitive content’ for use in display ads, Facebook, email, website landing pages, SMS, and mobile push notifications
The technology that underpins Persado is designed to fix the “bad versus terrible” conundrum that plagues many content marketing campaigns.
When you start out in content marketing, it is common to split test two versions of the message to determine the winner, and then try to improve upon the winning content with each iteration. That incremental improvement process takes time and effort, and if you start with two poorly conceived messages in the first place, you can erode your audience before you find an option that works.
What Persado’s platform does instead is analyze and deconstruct your content and then run millions of calculations and permutations behind the scenes to produce the message with the highest chance of conversion. It does this for marketing campaigns across all channels, which is important, as we are now in the age of the mobile customer.
“Persado is a channel-agnostic solution, with the focus on improving the efficacy of content on any delivery channel,” Alex Vratskides, CEO at Persado, told me. “Part of this round of funding will be used to improve all channel offerings, which include mobile push notification and SMS campaigns. The new capital will also be used to expand sales and customer success headcount to meet growing global demand for cognitive content.”
Persado has now deployed cognitive content for thousands of marketing campaigns. It has accumulated response data from more than 40 billion impressions, and the company claims that the solution has resulted in a 49.5 percent average uplift in conversions and a 68.4 percent improvement in click-through rates.
“Businesses are facing a greater demand for personally relevant marketing messages,” Vratskides said. “In today’s noisy and on-the-go digital environment, brands have a narrow window to engage consumers and inspire action. Consumers also have different emotional triggers that can change depending on myriad factors — down to the device they’re using.”
Persado currently employs more than 200 people across seven offices around the globe. The company is continuing to grow its workforce in 2016 — increasing its headcount in sales and customer success to meet rising demand and adding data scientists and engineers to ramp up product development.
Today’s funding round is led by Goldman Sachs, with contributions from previous investors Bain Capital Ventures, StarVest Partners, American Express Ventures, and Citi Ventures.