How Jungle Creations Seeks the Right Balance for Branded Content


Many of the social-focussed publications that have thrived on Facebook have used branded content as the primary way to monetise their large audiences. Jungle Creations, the media company behind publications VT and Twisted, has been investing more time and money into its branded content, believing there is value to investing in higher quality video for its clients. Chief content officer Melissa Chapman and commerical director Mitch Strong spoke to VAN about how Jungle Creations tries to get the “balancing act” right for branded content, and how they use data to shape their campaigns.

How does video strategy for a social-focussed publication like Jungle Creations differ from that of a more traditional publication?
Melissa Chapman, Chief Content Officer: Video strategies are largely dictated by audience behaviour. As the way people consume content shifts, so does our strategy. Our huge social presence affords us a constant stream of data on how people prefer to consume video, which allows us not only to understand what people want right now, but in-depth analysis helps us to identify patterns and trends on what people are likely to want next; which gives us an advantage when it comes to developing our strategy.

How do you strike the right balance with branded content, between making it work for the brand while not hitting your audience over the head with the brand’s message?
Mitch Strong, Commercial Director: It’s definitely a balancing act. Our in house creative agency works closely with our social team when developing campaigns for brands, ensuring we keep the audience at the heart of everything we do, but also ensuring we’re using data to support the direction we take the brand to solidify campaign effectiveness. The minute the audience feel like they’re watching an ad, it’s not going to perform as well, that’s why during the planning and execution of a campaign we ensue it’s going to fit seamlessly within our editorial content.

Will Facebook Watch provide any opportunities for Jungle Creations? Do you have any plans for long-form content?
Melissa Chapman, Chief Content Officer: Original content has been a huge focus for us in the past year, with 40% of our content being original and produced for social platforms. We’ve seen some incredible success with longer-form content within this remit, with our first mini-documentary ‘Slab City’ (over 10 minutes in length) being watched over 13 million times on Facebook. This has certainly encouraged us to explore further and we have some exciting plans for 2018.

Does your publication need to stick to a ratio of your own content to branded content? Or are your viewers agnostic over whether it’s sponsored or not, so long as it’s good?
Mitch Strong, Commercial Director: To date we’ve not had to implement any sort of ratio. Branded content won’t succeed on most publications if it differs too largely from the native content that’s posted daily – the audience will pick up on it. So for us, we use data and the expertise of our social team to support and aid the creative development of branded campaigns to ensure the audience remain agnostic over whether the content is branded or not, which ultimately leads to successful campaigns.

Which three technology partners could you not live without?
Melissa Chapman, Chief Content Officer: We have an incredible internal tech team at Jungle, who have created some irreplaceable tools that we use daily. However, I also value partners such as TubularLabs, CrowdTangle and vidiQ.


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