For years, researchers have struggled to formulate better engagement models for e-commerce. Now, an Israeli startup called Storycards has created a unique solution. The company hopes that its invention, the internet’s first no-code engagement product, will deliver next-level engagement and user experience while fostering a new development culture.
According to its inventor, Gil Rabbi, Storycards is to engagement what WIX and Squarespace are to websites. Building on the success of those established platforms that allow users to create websites without any technical knowledge or coding skills, Storycards focuses on creating engagement with users via custom calls to action or CTAs. These commonly include trivia, quizzes, questionnaires and other forms. “As the largest brands compete for user attention, the most valuable currency is eyeballs, not real estate, and so the ultimate differentiator is how well a website engages its users,” observes Rabbi.
Indeed, it was disappointment with the inefficiency of custom software development that led Rabbi and his team to develop Storycards. “In 2018 we felt we were repeating the same work with similar development logic, but with a different user experience and design for each client,” he recalls. “We knew there must be a better way so we developed an internal platform for creating engagement products. The platform was so successful internally, we decided to share this solution with others.”
What makes Storycards work without coding is a nascent technology: artificial intelligence. The platform provides feedback on how to improve itself as well as how to increase the level of engagement with the site users. Storycards assigns a score for each product created on the platform, which shows the website or app owner what users are doing with it and what should be improved, in real-time.
Rabbi says that a number of startups have tried to create similar products, but all have stuck with fixed templates, which prevents brands and big sites from using these platforms and forces companies to spend a lot of money to develop engagement products every year. “Our concept is just the opposite,” says Rabbi. “Do what you want, how you want to do it. At the end of the day, Storycards will look like an integral part of the website, as though it was custom developed for you.”
With new privacy protections drying up the flow of granular user data, Storycards could not be more timely. Google has announced plans to pull third-party cookies on Chrome by late 2023. And as of April of this year, Apple’s iOS requires apps to ask users if they wanted to be tracked, which has left social media companies like Twitter, Facebook and Snap flying blind or using look-alike models. (According to mobile-apps researcher Flurry, U.S. iPhone users opt out of tracking roughly 82% of the time.)
Rabbi thinks that engagement products will be the new superstars of online marketing. The more publishers can engage with their users and the more data they collect, he says, the less they will be at the mercy of big tech gatekeepers. Storycards allows creators to make segments and audiences based on user preferences and responses, a capability that allows website owners to create the specific segments that brand managers want.
“These are exactly the segments that Facebook and Google cannot provide,” Rabbi says. “Storycards is not only a key tool for publishers; it gives them a competitive advantage.”
Storycards is the brainchild of Gil Rabbi, who was chosen among the most influential people in the 40 under Forty list for 2018, and for one of the 100 most influential people in the digital fields in 2016. His focus over the past decade has been developing technologies that make users stay longer on sites and apps, making them more involved in the content, while the website and apps gather more information about their users.