Complex NewsComplex News

More Where That Came From

Complex News

Complex Magazine

Research + Branding Social Strategy Motion Video

A majority of print-to-digital transitions have been less than smooth, both for publications and their readership, with what works on the magazine page proving difficult to translate online. After 14+ years of print publication came to an end in December 2016, the Complex network moved over to a fully digital presentation focusing on driving traffic to their website and social channels. Through thorough research of target audiences and the inherent complexities of navigating this switch to YouTube and Instagram, Complex reconsidered and reformatted their digital identity with a series of new approaches that not only enriched engagement, but also increased overall viewership. Step by step (ooh baby), here’s how we did it.

The Challenge: Understanding Complex’s complex audience and the social media playground

Complex’s enviable audience stats long held a faithful core readership interested in hip hop, sneakers, pop culture and sports news, and their News division was seen as a primary asset across all platforms. Viewership was slipping, and Complex needed a new approach as nimble as a pair of Air Jordans to maintain and grow its audience.

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Solution 1: A logo with more pop

The intention wasn’t a redesign, but that’s what it took. Paring down earlier concepts that combined two separate logos, we created a new, stark all-in-one.

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Solution 2: Bringing that binge behavior

Utilizing clear channeling of content, we made it easier for audiences to find the videos and posts most relevant to their interests. The utilization of text as an infinite scroll created the impression of a constant stream of information continually updated and not to be missed. Optimized timing and pacing paired with an unmistakable hint of FOMO encouraged audiences to stay tuned in for the next video.

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Solution 3: Hook first, intro second

To catch passive viewers, we restructured the way Complex presented its news stories, with must-watch headlines (avoiding click-baiting) and powerful graphics. Again, the spinning text wheel maintained the impression there’s always more where the last story came from.

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Solution 5: Shake them assets

All in all we created a new toolbox of assets that video editors could utilize to produce branded videos on the fly, and our research prompted new understanding of just what type of content was needed to keep site visitors satisfied–and coming back for more. Since relaunch, Complex News has experienced both a double-digit percent increase in session length and skyrocketing view counts. 🎤-drop, we out.

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Executive Creative Direction
David Vogler

Creative Direction
Wyeth Hansen
Ryan Dunn

Research & Art Direction
Asad Pervaiz

Motion Graphics
Warren Cochrane

News Programming
Natalie Edgar

News Executive Producer
Nelson Isava