The idea of a web analytical tool, intended for editors, journalists, bloggers, arose in 2011 from the needs of the portal Njuz.net, whose owner is Dejan Nikolić, to pay its authors in the right way, according to the merits for readability. The founders of Autors Insight, as the tool was initially called, are besides Nikolić and Ilija Šuša and Dragutin Miletić.
Namely, journalists are forced to write sensationalist articles with click-bait headlines to earn a salary. Looking for a solution, Nikolić devised a formula that “more fairly” assessed the effect of the content and the author. Initially, it was an Excel file where data collected from Google Analytics and social networks were inserted. After a few months, they came up with the idea to automate the whole process and make a powerful tool that will work and analyze it on its own.
“At that time, creating something like that seemed simple to us, something that could be done in a couple of weeks, but it took us three years to develop algorithms,” said Ilija Šuša.
For the first year, they developed analytics in addition to their regular jobs. Miletić and Šuša were working as programmers, and Dejan ran Njuz.net. We mostly had meetings on Saturdays, and they worked on the development of analytical tools on weekends after regular work. It was very hard, and the tool was far from powerful.
In January 2014, they got the wind in their backs – they applied for the Tech Stars program in London, where they entered the finals among the 20 best teams in Europe. They didn’t go any further, but it was an indication that they were on the right track. In the same year, they received an invitation from the investment fund Eleven from Bulgaria, which accepted and received an initial investment of 25,000 euros and then focused entirely on the development of analytical tools.
The result was a change in the focus of creating an analytical tool from author to content, and then logically changed the name to Content insights.
The first buyers of the product began to arrive, and then in 2016, a new investment of as much as 1.1 million euros followed, which was jointly invested by North base Media, Neveq, and Eleven, followed by a breakthrough in international markets. That was already very serious.
Two years later, another financial injection arrived, this time from the South Central Ventures fund worth two million euros.
The merger came after nearly two years of working on some revolutionary joint research; how to predict content conversion and calculate useful tips in real-time. The result of this effort – what we call the Story Value Engine – is seen as a big step towards making the media more profitable.
Today, SmartOcto is a powerful, robust, but at the same time simple analytical tool that every newsroom should have.