Patrick Bales about Stoyo Media:

Category: Future heads

© Online Marketing Rockstars

© Online Marketing Rockstars

The marketing start-up company Stoyo Media has so far attracted little attention. However, the Berlin team of 50 employees, established in 2015, has generated billions of video views for their customers on Facebook in a very short time. They have achieved this by using funny and engaging videos. Founder and CEO Patrick Bales explains in an interview with Project Future why Stoyo Media has already become one of the world’s most successful marketing companies and how advertisement is going to change in the future.

You founded Stoyo Media two years ago. How exactly does your start-up work? How do you differentiate from your competitors?

We began working in my living room back then. Our aim was to understand how we can achieve organic reach in social networks. We all know these viral hits on Facebook with 100 million views or more, but no one quite knows how to do it. We were wondering how to make such things predictable. To achieve that, we started developing technology that today helps us to select topics using a data-driven approach, identify a specific target group – topics which the target group can identify itself with. This analysis of topics enables our videos to tell stories, we know already in advance that the target group will like them and that they are going to interact with the content by liking, commenting or sharing it. We are now the world’s first provider to guarantee one million organic video views, no matter on which Facebook page.

You guarantee to your customers one million clicks within a very short time without the need to buy ads on Facebook. How can you achieve this?

In broad terms, organic reach is determined by two factors. On the one hand, it is the network effect and on the other Facebook’s so-called relevance score. If a user interacts with a video, this video is also pushed into the newsfeed of their friends, and if these friends also interact with it, it will be shared with the friends of that friend etc. This effect is – slightly simplified – the so-called network effect. This ensures that the content is published in many feeds. However, we have to make sure it is placed in a prominent position. Facebook or its algorithm determines ranking in the feed by means of the so-called relevance score. This score rates all kinds of content on a scale between 1 (very bad) and 10 (very good). Moreover, we need to look at the view-through rate, too. For all our video productions, we have to make sure that all values are lying in a certain range in order to get a very high relevance score.

How do you select new topics? There must be a benefit for the customer after all.

The main thing is to clearly understand the brand and the briefing. It is not so difficult to just broadcast a viral hit. The challenge, however, is if you want to create an extremely high-performing video that fully matches the brand and its position. Our aim is to tell a story that the brand feels extremely comfortable with. As soon as we have gone through the briefing and developed a sense for the brand, we turn it into a keyword search by using our tools. This keyword search helps us to see if the topic is interesting enough or not. An even more interesting question is what keyword we even need to look for. We are currently working on an idea graph that can make automatic suggestions and analogies in order to help us make topic suggestions better, fancier and more surprising.

You have a large team – do you produce your material yourself or do you use mainly montages made of license material?

At the end of the day, it is the customer who decides. And it depends on the story, of course. Basically, we offer everything from user generated content to TV productions.

The topic of social video has become particularly interesting for brands. Why should companies not only focus on advertisements and banner ads in the future?

It is increasingly difficult to reach younger target groups through classic advertising. TV consumption is declining, banner ads are either blocked or ignored, and more than 90 percent of users skip pre-roll ads played before YouTube videos. We cannot force people anymore to watch boring ads. If a brand really wants to reach their target group, they have to watch the content voluntarily. Therefore, we trust on organic reach, and as the users are spending more and more time in social networks, we can meet them where they already are.

Can you name an example of a particularly successful campaign?

A great example is our latest video for the Iglo Fish Friday campaign. The aim of this campaign was to associate the Iglo brand and Fish Friday with the generation of Millenials on an emotional level. Before the campaign, it was very difficult for Iglo to reach this target group. Almost four million people have viewed our video so far, 60 percent of them Millenials. On the day of its publication, this video clip was one of the 20 most shared videos in the world and clearly the most powerful advertising. By now, the video has seen almost 200,000 interactions.

In June you were discussing about “Disruption of politics” together with colleagues from the creative and entrepreneur scene. The discussion was initiated by Medianet and Project Future. This is quite a hot topic right before the elections. What advice would you give to the parties – how do you address voters nowadays?

We can already see that German political parties and candidates have a lot to catch up on in terms of social media. This is something their colleagues in France, England and the US are much better at – this can be seen clearly, when we look at their engagement rates and reach. It is a mystery to me why such a high potential remains unexploited, in particular since political parties have always been quite dependent on the media as they are important in shaping public opinion. Social networks are an effective method to get away from this dependence and to set the tone and the story themselves. FDP is already quite good at that and is thus taking over the other parties for this very reason.

Will future elections be decided through Twitter and Facebook?

Certainly not via Twitter. This medium is far too small in Germany. However, here in this country, there are 30 million people on Facebook, so one could speak of a certain relevance here. However, at the end of the day, no platform will be able to decide elections. It is more about the story itself, not the platform through which it is spread. Politics will be able to convey a very good story unfiltered to their target group by using this kind of media and thus addressing a large group of voters. Those who do best will perform better in the future compared to those who only set up posters in the town.

You have decided to have Berlin as the seat for your company – was that a deliberate decision? What are the advantages of this location?

We are based here for two reasons – on the one hand, because of the excellent investor and start-up network, and on the other because we have access in particular to international talents settling in Berlin.

Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?

In one year, we will have at least one office in the US. In five years, we will be creating campaigns on all kinds of platforms, for cinemas and television, using the latest technologies such as virtual and augmented reality and winning the entire advertising budget of large brands. And in ten years, if everything goes well, we will be the world’s most successful advertising company.

Last, but not least, can you finish the following sentence: “Berlin is… “

… Germany’s digital gate to the world and unquestioned start-up capital.


Tanja Mühlhans

Leitung Kreativ- und Medienwirtschaft, Digitalwirtschaft, Projekt Zukunft