We recently founded Biites, a platform dedicated to advertiser funded programmes (AFPs) only. Even though we haven’t been in the market for long, there are already clear indications of which elements in AFPs that work really well and engages the audience.
We have gathered insights from our audiences in order to define what good AFPs are and below, I have identified three ways to create engaging AFPs. Hopefully, this can inspire you and your team to create even more engaging and relevant AFPs.
Viewers have a clear preference for branded video content that tells a story, that has a hero to whom they can relate.
1. Great storytelling never grows old
When we look at our pool of data, one of the elements that stands out is that the viewers have a clear preference for branded video content that tells a story, that has a hero to whom they can relate. A story that conveys emotions. Or, in short, a story that engages the audiences' attention because of the quality of the storytelling.
Sometimes, though, we talk to brands that find it difficult to come up with a brilliant idea for an engaging video-storyline or a program. This is often due to the fact they are too much of an expert in their own fields. When this is the case, the solution is to seek inspiration out in the world.
Because of the increasing popularity of AFP-production, TV-production companies, for example, are increasingly producing AFPs that originate from an idea for broadcasting television. Fancy having your own cooking show? Or travel program?
What we’ve found is that many of these content creators excel in creating original program ideas and AFPs for almost any topic you can imagine. And many of the storytelling tools that work in TV can be used in digital AFPs as well.
The audience doesn’t mind watching longer films if the content interests them.
2. Long form and serial content
In line with what is trending on many digital platforms, our viewers also have a preference for long-form content. The audience doesn’t mind watching longer films if the content interests them.
Our AFP platform has, by far, the most viewers on long-form content. Actually, the 30-minutes-or-more videos are the best performing of all and our viewers watch the videos on an average of 5.4 minutes. That's quite a long time!
The content performs best in the evening when people return to watch a film that they may have been exposed to in a social media post during the day. If your long-form AFP content is interesting, people may actually make a mental note of “watch it later” and return to your program later in the day.
Furthermore, our viewers like serial content and webisode formats, where you can build a storyline or a theme across videos. This makes your films more than a one-off and this helps build an ongoing relationship with your audience.
As one person told us, she loved this particular AFP series, because the length was 'just tailor-made for her 15 minutes smoking-break' – and she could return the following day to watch the next episode of the series.
Don’t be afraid to act as an expert in your field – as long as you do so in an engaging manner.
3. Create stories people can relate to
We recently had a viewer’s test group giving us feedback on their preferred content for the site. Their number one feedback was that they were looking for content that matched their personal interests as human beings and as individuals.
Audiences want to watch stories about the things that interest them or are relevant to them on a personal level. That which worries us, makes us wonder, makes us happy. Stories of how to place their pension funds, where to find the best fishing spots, stories of families sailing off into the sunset. Stories that make them dream and most importantly of all, stories that make them relate.
In addition, it became clear that if people had a personal interest in a specific subject, they would be just as pleased about watching branded content on its own as they would be about watching editorial content.
In fact, if an AFP was made by a company, believed to have deep knowledge of the particular subject, the viewers in the test group actually thought it made the content more reliable.
So, don’t be afraid to act as an expert in your field – as long as you do so in an engaging manner.