Moti Cohen has a story to tell — and it's directed at publishers.

Cohen is CEO of Apester, a company that wants to "make your content roar." More specifically, it offers tools for online publishers to create polls, surveys, personality tests and video quizzes, which they can then embed in their articles. 

Cohen said publishers that use his company's technology can engage with readers on new levels through enhancements to traditional consumption models like headline-and-text.

Newspapers Are Dead

In other words, this isn't the newspaper days anymore — and it's high time for publishers and brands to embrace digital, Cohen said.

Cohen launched New York City-based Apester16 months ago. In 2015, he watched his platform produce more than one billion consumer interactions for publishers. But he has bigger plans for the firm.

"We haven't truly embraced what digital has brought to the game," said Cohen, whose company closed a $17 million Series A funding round yesterday. "Our mission is to change the way storytellers tell stories in digital and the way consumers engage on a day-to-day basis."

Voice of the Article

moti cohen ceo of apester

Of course, brands and publishers have long been trying to tell good digital stories. But the Apester movement indicates there's still time for growth and innovation.

Blumberg Capital led the funding round, with participation from Mangrove Capital, former AOL CMO Tal Simantov, Wix co-founder Gigi Kaplan, Silverstein Properties President Tal Kerret and Wellborn Ventures. 

Cohen said Apester’s audience engagement platform includes more than 1,000 users, including Time Inc., AOL, The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post, FOX, USA Today, BBC, Sky and Bild.

Cohen told CMSWire that publishers and brands need to transform consumption — to morph from article-producers to conversation-starters. 

"Include the consumer's voice as part of the article, part of the content," Cohen said. "As you're reading a topic, you are trying to get a better understanding of the full picture of the story."

AOL's Super Move

He cited as an example AOL's coverage of Super Tuesday in the US Presidential Election. About 80,000 readers interacted with AOL's content and actually predicted the results of one of the primary races between Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 

poll asking people who will win US Presidential Democratic nominee

"AOL used our functionality to engage with their audience better," Cohen said. 

"It created an immersive experience. When you create an interactive experience it makes the consumer feel like they're in a conversation, and they'll be open to share to social networks and talk about it."

Growing Fast

Apester’s team went from eight to about 50 in 16 months. Cohen anticipates doubling his employee base over the course of the year, Cohen said. 

Alon Lifshitz, managing director at Blumberg Capital, said this industry is "ripe for innovation," yet no company has the potential of Apester.

More than 1,000 publishers produced 10,000 content pieces last month, and users see 200 million interactions on a monthly basis, Cohen said.

screenshot of apester digital engagement platform

"This is an engagement movement," Cohen said. 

"You have to be more visual and more open to allow audiences to participate in your content. And by that you're making them much more engaged. When they engage more, they stay more, click more and share more. You’re getting better business. It's as simple as that."