Sticky situations: 9GAG’s Ray Chan lists ways to increase your content’s ‘stickiness’

Inc. Southeast Asia | 24 October 2017
Photo c/o Getty Images

With the amount of information online, it’s safe to assume you have a discerning audience that can smell ‘phony’ from a mile away

In a world where brands not only compete with other brands but with the ubiquitous device we all bow our heads to these days (read: the smartphone), the value of stickiness — your content’s ability to captivate and sustain user attention — is surprisingly under-sung.

Content stickiness makes the difference between the ideas that survive and those that die. And because, to survive in this new world means getting with the program and catering to the often-capricious millennial mind, content stickiness is key if you want to hold their attention for more than a second.

How, then, do you create content that has the power to captivate an audience with low attention spans and infinite options?

Inc. Southeast Asia asks Ray Chan, co- founder of laughter generator 9GAG, to shed light on the content stickiness that has eluded many brands and content portals but has kept the nine-year-old website a go-to source of the funniest home videos and memes among audiences spanning different generations.

1. Authenticity sells

With the amount of information available online, it’s safe to assume that you have an audience that’s discerning and can smell something phony from a mile away.

“Truth and real sells. People value honesty because it’s very easy to put themselves in your shoes. In entertainment, funny and candid photos of celebrities are loved by a lot of people because it shows authenticity. For brands and companies, we’re seeing the same trend,” says Chan. “The more authentic you come across, the more people tend to gravitate toward you.”

2. Effort is attractive

In the world of branding, you tend to get what you put out. Take pop-up ads, which, according to Chan, people do not necessarily hate watching. “They just don’t like watching irrelevant ads,” he points out.

“For some users, some commercials are so good they don’t mind watching it. What sucks is when there’s not a lot of thought and effort that goes into it,” says Chan, adding that there will eventually be a “co-merging of ads and content,” which is “bad news for lazy ad producers.”

3. For content consumption, results trump technology

With all the buzz surrounding technologies like augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the like, Chan says that it’s often irrelevant to content consumers what technology powers one’s platform.

In the entertainment space, “people just want to know whether this is fun, interesting, and if it brings comic relief. It’s all about the result, and not about how you make it,” he points out.

In other words, before you invest an arm and a leg on sophisticated technology, make sure your content is contagious enough. Delivering an uncomplicated yet profound message should be more your priority. “Technology is just the enabler,” says Chan.