BuzzFeed and Eko have been working together to create a wide range of interactive videos, which they began launching in the past week or so — starting with this Tasty potato recipe that allows you to customize your ingredients, revealing a bit about your personality in the process.
There’s also an interactive Tarot reading, a video quiz that determines which kind of dog you are and this customizable ramen video.
I spoke with BuzzFeed and Eko executives last week to learn more about how they’re working together, and where it might go next.
These videos — usually brief and based on existing BuzzFeed formats — feel pretty different from previous Eko showcases like “That Moment When,” which is more of a comedic, Choose Your Own Adventure-style story.
Eko’s Chief Creative Officer Alon Benari acknowledged that in the past, the company usually “started from a traditional video and injected interactivity into it.” But while “this is one of the first projects where we did the other path” — namely, taking an interactive format like a quiz and introducing video — the focus is still on “bringing together the best of both worlds.”
“This isn’t a direction change,” added Vice President of Business Development Ivy Sheibar. “We have a full pipeline of what you would consider coming more from traditional video.”
As for BuzzFeed, Chief Marketing Officer Ben Kaufman suggested that this is a natural extension of the publisher’s strategy to experiment with new formats. By offering this kind of interactivity, BuzzFeed can tailor videos to their viewers’ needs and interests (for example, by customizing video recipes based on dietary restrictions) while also “allowing our audience to engage with our videos and create data feedback loops.”
In addition to providing the technical platform to create these videos, Kaufman said Eko’s team shared important insights from years of experience with interactivity.
“One of the things they trained us on was what the meaning of a meaningful choice was — [a choice] where actually as an audience member you would take that to heart and makes you feel like, ‘This video is really made for me,’ ” he said.
Kaufman added that as BuzzFeed and Eko continue rolling out different types of interactive videos, “Our goal in the next few weeks is to crack this, to build a real deep audience connection, see what they are loving and go heavy into scaling that.”