KIT, a new Swedish digital media company, was founded in May 2015 on the premise that consumption of content is shifting to distributed social platforms.
We published our first video in October 2015. It was a Halloween tutorial showing the audience how to make “ghost bananas.” Sweden was hungry, not only for funny bananas, but also for good social video. One year later, creating a KIT video has become a concept in our line of industry in Sweden. We know that KIT wouldn’t be the beloved brand it has become if we hadn’t been focusing on video.
The ever-changing media world
In this fast-paced, distributed-media world, competition is tougher than ever. We compete not only with other publishers from all over the world, but also with every friend, company, or funny page with which the user has ever interacted.
Central to this new reality is understanding why a certain story performs well and being able to use these insights to creating new stories. KIT does this by collecting unique editorial data on our data platform, “Story Engine.”
Early on, we noted that video was becoming increasingly important, so we started to experiment with the format to find our own tone and way of storytelling. There were no role models in Sweden, so we started from scratch to learn how the Swedish audience consumed journalism in social video.
We wanted to stay clear of the common ways of growing an audience: clickbait, kittens, celebrities, or pranks. Instead, we wanted to do great video journalism in a way that made people actually want to watch.
Three basic keys to video in social
We researched what is crucial when publishing videos exclusively on social media and came up with three key components:
- Autoplay: Our videos must start automatically, and the messaging during the first second is crucial.
- Silence: When Facebook launched its silent autostart, the audience quickly got used to the sound of silence. Our data also shows that 95% of all KIT video views happen without sound. This means we have to tell our stories with text, illustrations, and images.
- Aspect ratio: The most common video aspect ratio has been 16:9. But no one turns their phone to watch videos on social media. The majority of our videos are made in 1:1, and we’re also experimenting with vertical 16:9.
Making a true KIT video
The next step was to identify formats. Today, we work with 17 different video formats, such as breaking news, explainers, and tutorials. We have since analysed every single video we’ve published from a dramaturgical perspective to learn a best practice for each format that we sell to our clients today.
Just one-and-a-half years after publishing those spooky bananas, we have accomplished the following:
- Published videos in all our verticals; all our of reporters can easily work with video.
- Surpassed 80 million started videos on Facebook in less than a year, with nearly 2 million weekly video views.
- Gained exceptional retention on all videos we publish.
- Compelled the majority of our customers to buy our videos.
- Evolved into the leading media company in Sweden when it comes to finding new ways of telling stories in social video.
“KIT video” has become a concept in our industry. Here are some examples of our video formats:
• Shit people say: In this video, we see Muslim men and women quoting things people say to them just because they are Muslim. For example: “How does it feel that you have to share your future husband with three other wives?” “Are all Muslims in Sweden cousins?” “You are so calm and open minded. I mean, considering that you are Muslim.”
• In depth: We met and interviewed the most controversial person in Sweden: Lars Vilks, an artist who lives undercover with 24-hour police protection since he made a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007. He has taken up jogging, and he dreams about outrunning his body guards.
Tutorial: Our beauty tutorials are extremely popular. our audience loves when we do surprising stuff, like putting flowers in a man’s beard.
Today, our way of doing video is easily recognised and loved by the audience. And we do believe that we are one of the most innovative producers of high-quality social video in the world.