Firefox is the nerdy, counter-culture, free and open source web browser that has a mission to make the Internet a more joyful place. With the Firefox Presents series, we set out to amplify the voices of digital creators who use the Internet to forge their own career paths, find community, and challenge the status quo.
Until this series, video content on the Firefox channel was largely product focused, short form (30-60 sec), and released irregularly. With Firefox Presents, the brand made the leap into ongoing, long-form serial content that prioritized character-driven storytelling. Performance goals included:
While the series doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the dark side of the Internet, our focus is how the web can be a tool for liberation, for education, for community building, for activism, to change hearts and minds, and to break down stereotypes.
With Firefox Presents, we set out to create compelling video portraits of the “humans of the internet”—people who live dynamic lives and have built rewarding careers that simply wouldn’t be possible without the web. We wanted viewers to get a glimpse of their formative years, before the idea of making a living on the Internet was a reality, and what obstacles they overcame on the road to success. We also know that long form content (5 minutes or longer) is prioritized by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, which aligns nicely with our cinematic documentary format.
The initial challenge was to cast the right creator for the launch episode. We knew that our target audience was made up of people who are busy, who consume a ton of content, and are discerning. With that in mind, we needed a story that did two things for viewers: (1) took them on an emotional journey, and (2) captured their attention with exciting visuals.
This led us to Abby Wren, a hair and makeup artist with alopecia who uses herself as a canvas for eye-popping makeup and body painting. With Abby, we found the all-important thread that connected her story to the brand message: that the Internet helped her discover a deep connection to a global network of other people with alopecia, facilitated her fateful meeting with the fellow creator who became her romantic partner and co-collaborator, and enabled her to step away from working for other people and instead build her own community around the premise that “different is dope.”
With Abby, and all of the creators in the series, having ample time for pre-production planning was essential. Our goal was to tell their stories authentically, and cover elements they may not have discussed before. This required our production team to get to know each creator well, and understand the elements of their stories that would resonate with the audience. We also needed to build enough trust with them to allow us to document revealing moments: at home with their partners, backstage before a big show, and in one notable case, woodworking while wearing a gown and high heels.
After Abby’s video launched to strong results, our challenge and opportunity was to identify additional creators to profile who could bring our growing audience into new and surprising worlds. This led us to other great subjects: LEX the Lexicon Artist, a nerdcore rapper redefining how Asian women are seen; Brandon Kyle Goodman, actor, writer and activist who turned his childhood identity struggles with his race and sexuality into fuel to inspire others to believe that they are enough; and Justine Ezarik (iJustine), one of the earliest Internet creators who shared her truly unique perspective on the highs and lows of sharing your life online.
To achieve consistency through the series, and create the required connection and intimacy with subjects, each episode was directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Melissa Dowler, with the same core crew members returning for multiple episodes.
As of February 2023, we’ve released 7 episodes in the series, achieving a combined total of 188K organic views. Each episode earned an average of 18.2K views in the first 7 days, a 1,650% increase over typical Firefox videos prior to the launch of the series. Audience engagement in the comment section has also been robust.
Additionally, average watch time per episode was approx. 1,065 hours in the first 7 days, a 4,438% increase over typical Firefox videos. This was due in part to the long form nature of the series (unprecedented for Firefox content), which helped amplify organic reach on the platform.
Compared to previous videos, on average, each episode earned 10x new subscribers per video in the first 7 days—an entirely new audience for Firefox that’s responding to this new content.
From a soft metric perspective, this uplifting and inspiring series has given Firefox the opportunity to walk its talk as a brand devoted to creating a more joyful Internet. Firefox Presents has amplified voices of creators who are not only forging their own path, but bringing the rest of the Internet along with them on the journey to see the world from a new perspective.
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