This Startup Is Helping Speed Up How Publishers and Advertisers Create Social Videos

TMZ and People are working with Wibbitz

Wibbitz's Snippet tool helps publishers and advertisers quickly create vertical videos. Wibbitz
Headshot of Marty Swant

Thanks to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, vertical video over the past couple of years has become increasingly mainstream. Now, one startup wants to help automate the process of making content for the phone-shaped format.

Wibbitz, which can create videos from text-based content, is rolling out a tool it says could help publishers and advertisers boost production of videos for social channels and the rest of the mobile web. With a combination of machine learning and manual curation, Wibbitz’s Snippet tool uses text, graphics, videos, photos and music to create vertical or square videos that look strikingly similar to those seen on Snapchat’s Discover channel.

“We see a huge, huge shift in the market in the past year,” Wibbitz CEO Zohar Dayan told Adweek. “I think pretty much every publisher we’re speaking to is embracing automation in their newsroom in some form, because there is really a need for change and to think differently.”

Here’s how it works: Selecting a video type and entering text into the platform triggers Wibbitz’s software to create a video that incorporates bold colors and themes like Snapchat has made popular. Users can then edit and add to the video before selecting a theme and publishing.

“Not using automation in the next year or two is going to be a bit like not having power steering in your car,” Dayan he said.

While clients have just started using the format, Wibbitz said it’s tested Snippet for its own marketing. In a monthlong test, the company’s use of Snippet on Facebook and Twitter generated on average 65 percent more reach, along with 437 percent more clicks. the company also reported 72 percent more engagement on Facebook and a 133 percent uptick on Twitter.

“Not using automation in the next year or two is going to be a bit like not having power steering in your car."
Wibbitz CEO Zohar Dayan

The feature is already in use by some publishers such as TMZ and iHeartRadio. According to Dayan, the average video takes a little more than five minutes to create. (Videos are payed for based on a revenue-sharing model rather than on a retainer or per-video basis.) French broadcaster Le Parisien TV has started using it for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. According to general manager Anne de Kinkelin, the automated tools let the company save time and resources.

“Snapchat requires publishers to have a dedicated team of eight to 10 people in order to become a partner,” de Kinkelin said. “A tool like Wibbitz makes it possible for one person to manage an entire day’s worth of video production for Snapchat Discover.”

Advertisers are also hoping the tool helps alleviate the pressure of producing better content—and more of it. According to Elav Horwitz, global innovation director at McCann Worldwide, mobile consumption is forcing brands to put “a serious focus” on more engaging content. Other agencies like Imprint, the content creation arm of the brand engagement firm Sullivan, plan to start using Snippet within the next few months, according to managing director Duncan Milne.

“Vertical video is becoming one of our clients’ highest priorities, and we expect more and more brands to incorporate it in their content and advertising strategies this year,” Horwitz of McCann said.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.