Michael Philippe (pictured) co-founded Keli Network with Robin Rabban and Swann Maizil. Prior to creating Keli, Michael and Robin founded LeKiosk, a European digital newsstand offering over 200,000 paying subscribers access to 200+ publications, including titles from Conde Nast and Hearst. The experience of creating and running LeKiosk led Michael Philippe and the team to examine the media habits of Millennials and Gen Z, determining that the next wave of media consumption would be based on social platforms, and on video. While LeKiosk continues its successful operations in Paris, the three decided to create a new company focused on this market. In 2016, Michael Philippe left France to run the new Keli Network from its headquarters in New York City.
Keli has extended brands “Gamology” and “Oh My Goal” to Snapchat, but not “Genius Club” and “Beauty Studio.” For being a company that is geared for mobile viewing, why were these the two brands selected for Snapchat?
We are progressively launching new social channels for each of our brands and ultimately expect to have all of our brands on each social platform. This is core to our strategy. However, in order to yield the best results and provide the absolute best experience for our users, we don’t simply distribute the same content across all the social platforms. We understand that the viewing experience is different on each platform, so our approach to content and messaging must be adapted and customized for each.
“Gamology” – the leading U.S. social gaming community – and “Oh My Goal” – the voice of the growing U.S. soccer community – are currently two of Keli’s most established brands and were therefore a good fit for expansion onto Snap. We see it as only a matter of time until all our brands are distributed on every social platform.
How does Keli’s strategy differ when creating content for Facebook Watch vs Snapchat? What are the advantages for each? Is there anything you would wish to improve on the platforms?
The formats for Facebook Watch and Snapchat content are inherently different from each other, meaning at a very base level the content must be different. For example, Snapchat utilizes a full vertical screen, while Facebook Watch does not. The user experience on each platform is different as well. Facebook Watch is a more social experience, where users can share and comment on content. On Snapchat, it’s more immersive, with a full screen, story experience. Our creative team keeps both format and user experience top of mind while creating content for different platforms, catering to what users expect from different platforms and how to best present content on each.
In terms of improvement, we are always grateful when social platforms give us more tools to be even more creative. Tools that allow users to directly engage and interact with the content, such as the recently implemented “Poll” capability in Instagram Stories, open up a host of new possibilities. This is a capability I hope to see implemented across platforms. These advanced tools make the user experience even more immersive, and allow our creative team to connect with users in innovative and unique ways on each platform.
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How do you manage to stand out in the crowd on Facebook Watch when the platform has 150+ shows?
Keli’s strategy has always been to create shows around specific categories to serve niche communities. We’ve applied this core notion to our Facebook Watch content as well and it is has paid dividends. This approach has resulted in extremely strong engagement on our Watch shows. Viewers engage in that which they are most passionate about, and passions are specific. We identify topics by leveraging our proprietary data analysis tools to find unique ideas and subject matter that our audiences are genuinely interested in.
This has helped to differentiate our company and stand out amongst the noise on Facebook Watch. We are very proud of our results thus far, with our shows garnering high engagement rates and our number of views per episode averaging in the millions.
Keli has a diverse group of brands from beauty to gaming to sports and more. What differences do you see in terms of behavior when comparing the audiences of Keli’s four brands?
Each of Keli’s brands truly has its own personality, driven by the subject matter and format each brand’s audience is most interested in. Audiences of Beauty Studio, for instance, are more interested in tutorials and hacks, while audiences for Gamology love to see trailers and user generated content. Audiences for each brand exemplify their behavioral differences by engaging in content of different formats. What all the audiences have in common, though, is that they are hungry for video content and want to see that content in a format designed for the way they are already browsing – on their mobile device and on social platforms.
What are two trends you expect to arise in 2018 and how will Keli capitalize on them?
I believe 2018 will be all about engagement. Content creators will increasingly try to target specific communities because that’s where it’s possible to create sustainable engagement. I also believe this strategy will shape the future of media brands as more publishers look to take advantage of the higher levels of engagement that very specific categories bring.
Secondly, I expect to see social platforms develop more tools for content creators to make content even more social and even more immersive. 2017 saw a lot focus on live content. I believe 2018 will bring development of tool to promote interactive experiences such as Instagram’s polling option within stories. This will be a major trend to watch for content creators, because it will truly change the way we create content.
We will capitalize on each of these trends by continuing to focus on specific topics that drive engagement – something that has driven our business from the start – and by always leveraging the latest tools social platforms have to offer in order to connect with our users in way that drives engagement.