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Meet Jamie Bolding | The man behind Facebook's most viewed publisher

Meet the CEO and Founder of Jungle Creations.

Do you ever wonder where those viral videos that dominate your Facebook feed come from? Meet Jamie Bolding, the CEO and founder of Jungle Creations, the company responsible for some of the most successful viral videos of the past four years. Jungle build online communities by producing and sharing creative videos that are targeted at different interests, through a series of social channels that receive over 4 billion views a month.

“There’s no hard and fast rule to making a video go viral, but there are certain things you can do to increase your chances” says Jamie, when quizzed if he can share the secrets to creating a viral video.

“A vital part of the formula is ensuring that the video evokes some sort of emotion in the viewer, whether that be happiness, excitement or sadness. Other things that you can do are make sure your caption grabs the user’s attention and ensure that the first three seconds of the video are captivating enough to keep the viewer engaged. But, ultimately, the content has to be good, that’s the bottom line. Ask yourself, would you watch, comment or share it if it popped up on your newsfeed?”

What’s Jamie’s story? How did he get to where he is?

Jungle’s videos certainly do get watched, commented on and shared. The company now has over 60 million followers across its 12 highly engaged online communities that produce video content based around specific niches such as Twisted (food), The Aardvark (animals) and Level Fitness (fitness). The company are set to turnover £21 million this year, just four years on from Jamie launching as a start-up in his mum’s spare room with a £10,000 loan.

After studying Business Management at the University of Manchester, Jamie started a marketing role at a drink’s company. Within three weeks he knew it wasn’t the job for him, so he quit, moved home and set up his own business, VT. “To begin with, it was all about publishing trending news and viral videos to the VT Facebook page and linking back to the VT website. The content I was writing and producing was getting loads of traction online, which meant VT’s following started to grow and I was soon turning over a few hundred dollars a day.” Jamie quickly realised the potential of what he had started, and harnessed it to grow communities in different areas such as food, gaming and music. Jungle now work with some of the biggest brands in the world to create viral content, employing over 150 people in London, New York and L.A.

Where will he go from here?

Producing outstanding content and growing an engaged online community is still at the forefront of everything that Jungle Creations do, but there are new ventures on the horizon for Jamie.

“Our overarching mission is to provide value to our communities and although right now this is focused around online content, we are also now doing this offline with ventures in products, restaurants and events.”

Everything that Jungle creates is aimed around adding value to the lives of their community, which originally focused solely on sharable video content but they are now thinking outside the box. Their food-focused Twisted community has published a cookbook and launched the world’s first delivery-only restaurant born from a Facebook page. Future offline pursuits could involve pet products, sports clothing and events, all aimed towards their niche communities.

What are Jamie’s thoughts on the future of advertising?

When asked about how much more of an impact a viral video can have compared to a print advertisement, Jamie has pretty clear thoughts. “Print adverts only have the potential to be seen by as many people who buy that newspaper or magazine. On the other hand, viral videos have the potential to be seen by billions of people, shared across social networks and actively commented on and discussed in real time. Not only is there an almost unlimited reach for a viral video, you can also see how people react to the video in real time and take those learnings into your next video campaign.” If you think about the costs involved with traditional print advertising and creating video content that has the potential to go viral, it’s easy to see why Jungle Creations are so successful.

Jamie believes that print advertising still has its place, but notes that the market is shrinking and there’s no denying that circulation figures are down for print publications. Yes, people still buy and read magazines and newspapers, but the future definitely lies with online advertising.

What challenges are there in Jamie’s industry?

Despite recent concerns around user data, Jamie is confident that advertising on social media will improve and become even more highly targeted, leading to an enhanced user experience that filters out adverts that don’t match people’s interests. He does foresee several short changes however;

“With the issues surrounding user data, that platforms like Facebook have recently been experiencing, I think for a short time we will see some changes around policy and there’ll be an effort to educate users on what data they share with social media platforms.”

Then, of course, there is the dreaded Facebook algorithm to reckon with. Constantly evolving, the recent algorithm change has affected all publishers and Jungle Creations is no different. However, Jamie states, “we continue to be the most viewed publisher on Facebook so the effect on us has been limited and small, relatively speaking. Our community interacts with our content on a daily basis, which means it continues to be favoured in the algorithm.”

…And the famous last words

What phrase do you wish everyone would stop using?

‘Consolidation’ is the buzzword of the moment, that’s being thrown around a lot. Of course, it’s an important part of growing a business but I think it’s used too much.

What are the three things you need to be able to do your work?

My laptop, Facebook and my motorbike for getting to meetings.

What are you currently obsessed with?

Tattoos. I got a new one yesterday on the back of my right arm and I’m already planning the next!


Image: Levon Bliss/Forbes

Words by Emma Lavelle.