How the evolution of social storytelling can help media owners

Ed O’Keefe, editor-in-chief of mobile social news network NowThis News, presented an overview of the major social networks at the Digital Innovators’ Summit today in Berlin, saying that video is evolving the conventions of social mobile storytelling.

O’Keefe talked about the video capabilities of networks such as Vine and Instagram, and said that this is the way NowThis News creates “native and original content” specific to the platform they’re trying to reach. “There is nothing more powerful to the mobile social generation than authenticity,” he added, saying that they have two principles when looking to run a story: Is it sharable? Would you watch it on a mobile device?

And you have to be quick. “This generation is used to getting what they want, when they want it and how they want it. If you don’t deliver that in four to five seconds, they’re gone,” said O’Keefe.

Part of NowThis News’ philosophy is to go where the audience is: their smartphones. O’Keefe talked through the benefits of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, sharing how the company plays to the strengths of each.

Speaking about Vine, O’Keefe said: “It is a young and evolving platform. The jury is still out as to whether hard news can exist here, and it’s a challenge to create news there.” As for Snapchat, O’Keefe highlighted its extremely young audience, saying that many users are communicating with NowThis News via this network.

NowThis News makes money in a similar way to Buzzfeed – by creating native and original content for brands, and pushing out via the relevant networks. “We have one principle here,” said O’Keefe. “The storytelling in advertising must be as compelling as the content. If it’s not, we don’t do it.”

O’Keefe encouraged attendees to look at their social strategies and how they can reach the ‘mobile social generation’ better. “If you miss social, you risk missing an entire generation of consumers,” he said.

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