Interview with MediaCom Beyond Advertising’s Head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Palle Finderup Diederichsen by Sandra Freisinger-Heinl:
Let’s start with your view on branded content in Europe. What’s Germany’s position in this field?
The use of branded content is gathering pace quickly everywhere. In Europe, the UK is still leading, followed by France. Both started early with branded content. Germany, Italy and Scandinavia are catching up, but for different reasons in each region: Scandinavia has mobile as ‘the tool’; Italy is traditionally good in design and fashion, and produces stylish branded content; Germany is good at conducting studies and using relevant data – several key market research projects are done there; Austria and Switzerland are latecomers, but they’re starting to do experiential outdoor executions, mainly through our German office.
What is ‘good video content’ and where do you distribute it?
From the early days of video, we’ve been involved in what good content looks like. In the past year alone, we can see how much the structure of video has changed.
Today’s audience will watch your video most probably on a social platform like Facebook. So this means it’s in a very busy environment, it’s autoplaying and silent. Therefore, a good video today has to capture the interest of your audience without using sound, in a very cluttered environment. That’s very different to the heyday of TV; it’s about being loud in a different way and it influences everything from the actual execution to how it will be distributed.
Where do you put your video to make it a success? If it’s good, you can promote it using just a press release, or believe in viral engagement. If it’s not very good, you have to put it up on places such as YouTube in a ‘must-see format’ like a pre-roll, which you can’t skip. Non-skippable is the solution of choice when the content is poor.
How does storytelling work best nowadays?
It’s a very interesting area, because again this depends on what’s seen as ‘good content’ and the impact it has on how you tell stories.
The traditional storytelling curve of a Hollywood movie, which has been adopted by many other stories, means that you build tension that peaks about 70% of the way in and then develops the resolution for the rest of the story. It’s the classic storytelling curve.
In videos today, in social on the smart phone, you have to engage people from the very first second. And we also know from all our research, if you want people to engage with your content and to share it with their network, you have to be on a high at the end as well. So that’s a transformation of the storytelling curve.
How do you predict or measure which content really works?
We use emotional recognition tools and technology, such as Unruly ShareRank and Realeyes, to help us predict shareability. We then use this data in combination with our own data to inform our approach to content distribution.
Emotional recognition through webcams shows us how people react: are they happy, are they sad, are they curious, or what are they? We track that and then we use it to inform our creative composition and also to inform our distribution. This measurement method has a bigger impact on distribution.
Sandra Freisinger-Heinl is the joint editor and co-author of BOBCM 2015 DACH book, Managing Director, MA Media and contributor to Branded Entertainment Online (BEO). This interview was originally published in the BOBCM DACH Region Edition (2015) co-edited by Sandra Freisinger-Heinl and Greta MacFarlane.