How SPH Uses Visual Storytelling in Advertising Campaigns

Interactive Video Increases Viewing Time by 50%

The leading media organization in Asia, Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) delivers editorial storytelling content across a vast portfolio of media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, radio, and digital. Its digital properties encompass more than 25 news, financial and lifestyle websites and more than 50 mobile apps, each reaching a very targeted demographic. Together, these properties serve an audience of 23 million unique viewers and command 360 million page views per month. It’s an established and highly engaged base, one that views SPH’s media segments as trusted, reliable sources for content.

SPH provides its advertising clients with access to affluent, brand-conscious and upwardly mobile individuals between the ages of 25 and 49. Fortune 500 companies and regional brand advertisers leverage SPH’s websites and services to target a highly coveted audience engaging with them on sites and mobile apps they trust, alongside editorial content they value.

Video Expands the Power of Storytelling

“Advertisers value us as a trusted source for information and as strong storytellers,” says Serene Goh, Head of SPH Content Lab. “We create unique digital brand campaigns designed to engage audiences and generate returns for advertisers.”

“Video adds a dimension to our storytelling, and makes us a more complete, well-rounded media solution—it goes beyond just suggesting a client buy banners on this site, or print ads, or radio spots. It’s one more way we help our clients reach their customers, shape effective stories and amplify their messages.”

As SPH became more invested in video, the company sought to upgrade its technology platform—to a solution that offered flexibility and a robust set of APIs. They chose Brightcove as a key technology partner, hosting all editorial and advertising video content on Brightcove Video Cloud.

“Brightcove is our video technology partner,” explains Eric Tan, Manager, Business and Product Innovation. “We transitioned to Brightcove because we needed a very strong technology partner with a mature platform that can reach all our websites and publications.”

To capitalize on SPH’s expertise in delivering trusted content, the company assigned a specialist team to focus on branded content solutions for the digital space, BrandInsider, within its Content Lab. BrandInsider conceives, produces and distributes approximately 50 digital-led campaigns—including video components—for its advertising clients each year, helping them create and cultivate their distinct voices across digital media.

Content Lab’s strength was in offering expertise in matching the right media to the right story. “Video helps us in visual storytelling. When you talk about share of mind, it really enhances the stickiness of a story,” Goh says. “As media owners, SPH distributes a client’s message to a greater diversity of audiences to better meet their business objectives with a comprehensive, targeted campaign.”

“Brightcove allows us to do more with video,” she says. “It enables us to be more creative with how we approach different customers and their needs. We particularly like the ability to innovate. Integrating new technologies, such as interactivity, into our videos, offers progressive clients a novel element.”

Innovating with Interactive Video to Define a Brand

The Courts campaign, targeting local shoppers, ran for four weeks and delivered higher-than-anticipated engagement. Although a longstanding print advertiser in the SPH news publications, the furniture retailer was still relatively new to the digital marketing space.

To better reach a digital audience, it wanted to engage viewers more deeply, and use the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration of its megastore to solidify its reputation as an innovative brand. To achieve this aim, the BrandInsider team collaborated with Courts to design a story that would play out using interactive video elements. Its story revolved around a couple trying to find solutions for redecorating their home, using the interactivity functionality from Brightcove partner HapYak.

Unfolding over six minutes, the story was paused at three points to offer a branching option so viewers could select what would happen next. The effect was to help the Courts campaign stand out to Singapore audiences. The video received twice as many views as a previous, similar award-winning video from a different customer, as well as higher play-through rates.

The integrated strategy used Brightcove’s strong analytics capabilities to track traffic to the stores, conversion, how many people followed the campaign through the full four weeks, and whether customers were driven to the store from the mobile app or from Courts’ website. “The breaks and branching options allowed the one video to have an episodic feel,” says Goh. Plus, its interactive elements were essential to positioning Courts as an innovator, willing to try something fresh.

The interactive video generated a more captive audience by increasing viewing time by 50% compared to non-interactive videos. The technique is something SPH intends to roll out with other clients, across sectors, as a key component of its integrated media solutions, positioning it where it might be most effective to entertain, or deepen audience engagement.

“Each time we run a video campaign or add a video element, we learn more about how customers respond to the client’s brand,” says Goh. “Interactivity is one more tool we can use to increase engagement with audiences, and keep us at the head of the branded content storytelling pack. We’re excited about the innovative functionalities Brightcove continues to offer. It is helping us to do more to maximize the power of video.”

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