An Interview With Lin Dai, CMO of Keek

What are the current hot trends you're seeing in video?

We're currently seeing three major trends in the industry. The first is the overall increase in mobile video consumption. The second is the increase in social video sharing, and the third is the rise of ephemeral video platforms, like Snapchat and others. When we look at the mobile video landscape, we see three distinct platforms emerging. Traditional platforms, like YouTube, migrated to mobile because their audience are increasingly spending more time on mobile, followed by the emergence of video platforms that are built natively for mobile like Vine and Keek. Ephemeral video platforms such as Snapchat have recently begun to grow in popularity, but at this point, it's still too early to say what kind of impact these platforms will have on the overall mobile video landscape, especially when it comes to advertising and monetization.

On Keek, we offer a "mobile-first experience," and we've definitely seen that mobile consumption has grown dramatically. Our users watch about 6,400 Keek videos per minute. That's over 277 million per month, with over 90 percent of that consumption occurring in the mobile app experience.

Our research showed that women are seeking out videos that are authentic, concise, and positive in tone. When creating or consuming content, do you take into account the tonality and length of the content?

I think that's exactly what we're seeing. Offering authentic content is a big part of what makes Keek successful. We are sometimes compared to a "micro"-YouTube meets Twitter. It's a platform built for short-form video, and users have the ability to follow other users, so when a user publishes a video, their followers are able to see it immediately. On Twitter, when a celebrity tweets, chances are it might have been written and scheduled by their assistant, whereas on our platform, when a celebrity is backstage at an award show and shoots and shares a short video, you know it's coming directly from the celebrity, because her followers can see that it's her holding the phone and shooting the video. So the videos are highly authentic, and that level of authenticity is highly difficult to manufacture.

We're seeing consumption of our videos increase because when users are watching a Keek video, they know they're only committed to 36 seconds, as opposed to content on other platforms that may require a longer commitment of time. Our users are often watching our videos while on the go, and users can watch the videos and watch a bite-size video that still tells an engaging story.

In terms of positivity, we get videos from all over the world, and it really becomes a self-moderating community. When there are videos that are inappropriate or negative, they get flagged by our community of moderators. We also offer a feature called a Keekback, where users get to respond to videos by posting a video reply of their own. As compared to other text based social media platforms, where negative comments are rampant and internet bullies can behind the anonymity of a username, when a user is responding in video, because the user is visible, they are less likely to offer a negative or derisive comment. We find that when our users are posting their own music or art or just a hello to the community, they receive a lot of positive and supportive feedback. Video lends itself to a more positive response because it takes away the ability to be an anonymous troll.

Do you feel that lifestyle video is an effective vehicle for brands to increase awareness and consideration or drive purchase? Can you provide an example?

Yes. We haven't opened the Keek platform to any monetization yet, so the examples by brands we've seen to date have been organic in nature. We see media brands are some of the first marketers on the platform. They are doing a great job using 36 second video format on Keek to drive their audience to take an action. For example, Entertainment Tonight Canada does a fantastic job of cutting up their red carpet interview videos into smaller pieces and then using those videos to drive TV tune-in. The videos have short segments of an interview with a celebrity and then include a call to action to drive viewers to watch the full program at a specific time. We feel that's a great integration because Keek is the perfect "second screen" companion to TV programs, everyone have their mobile phone with them when watching TV, so using mobile video on Keek to drive tune-in is a no-brainer. The 36-second video length really lends itself to a type of storytelling that is unique in the mobile video space. 6 seconds is just too short. Advertisers already know how to tell a story in around 30 seconds, they have had decades of experience with traditional 30-second spots. We are about to take it to the next level. We're excited to be working with some really innovative brand partners to create custom content with a call to action that is tailored for our audience.

How do you personally keep up to date with the latest trends in video?

I read a lot and use Google Alerts to keep me from missing anything. I also have a great global team that helps me stay informed on news and emerging trends from the various international markets. We have a very collaborative environment, and we're frequently sharing information we see coming from individual markets to help us all keep pace with the evolution of this market. Digital video is still in its early stages, and there are a lot we can learn from the other players in the space, and we can advance the industry together in a symbiotic way.

What do you consider to be the next big trend in lifestyle video?  

Mobile video is here now in the US and in Europe, but there's a huge opportunity in Asia and Latin America when 4G becomes more popular and the democratization of content allows billions of people in these countries to create and share video content. The technology infrastructure is just getting to some of these countries, and so I feel we're just seeing the first wave of global video consumption. Each of these emerging countries are different culturally, and so we really want to learn from the best of our peers in these regions. I think what Line is doing in Japan is really interesting, for example. Seeing how users connect and communicate with other users across the world and across language barriers is compelling, and understanding how technology can help support those connections will help push us to the next wave. Mobile video in the hands of a consumer can do much more than just entertain. When Keek started in 2011 we saw huge adoption in the Middle East because of Arab Spring and people needed to communicate and share what was going on. Keek has since became a dominant video social network in the region loved by millions of teens and movie stars alike, bringing the world closer in a whole new way. It is fascinating to see how an app can help change the world.