For media and entertainment marketers, there’s very few announcements as anxiety inducing as the phrase “algorithm change”. Social media is a great fan communication tool but it’s also a faucet that can be turned off whenever a few gatekeeping platforms decide, for reasons beyond your control.
However, what if marketers were armed with so much actionable data that they’d be shielded from the impact of such an algorithm tweak regardless? Viacom approached ListenFirst around a particularly worrisome Facebook change, and below is the story of how the code was successfully cracked in making sure their Comedy Central content was still seen on social media.
In January 2018, Facebook announced it was overhauling its News Feed to prioritize posts from friends and family. In particular, the platform would de-prioritize posts from media and businesses to make sure that “time spent on Facebook was time well spent.” As a result, media brands noticed significant decreases in their Facebook post reach and particularly, video views, in 2018. What could media brands do to get back up to pre-algorithm change numbers?
Viacom tapped ListenFirst for data-driven video insights to revamp their Facebook video content strategy to boost reach and views.
ListenFirst provided a Social Intelligence Hub to Analyze Video Performance
In order to better understand the performance of Viacom video on social media, ListenFirst set up a three pronged framework for tracking.
- CENTRAL DASHBOARD: Brought together all of Viacom’s Comedy Central social data for all of their programs across all social channels in one place. Overall performance was ranked by KPIs, content analytics, influencers, video, etc…
- VIDEO ANALYTICS: Aggregated all Viacom Facebook video analytics in one dashboard, tracking individual brand video performance, analytics, trends, and best practices.
- NETWORK ROLL-UP: Created a Comedy Central network roll-up to understand overall video performance, going beyond individual program performance. Showed content performance and trends for the TV network as a whole, with insights into video, organic, paid, and branded content, audience insights, and best practices.
Get Insights Into Video Length and Format and Correlation with Reach and Views across Social Platforms
Viacom analyzed each of their Facebook videos and the average reach and average views for various content lengths:
- Less than 1 minute
- Between 1 and 2 minutes
- Between 2-3 minutes
- Greater than 3 minutes
With this analysis, Viacom discovered a strong correlation between the length of videos and and the reach they accumulated. This allowed Viacom to rethink their creative and video strategy.
Video Views by Channel
Most Engaged Facebook Video Content in January & February 2019
#1 22.1M #2 3.03M #3 2.66M
Video Views Video Views Video Views
The Result: A Winning Strategy
Viacom Shifted Social Video Strategy to Increase the Number of Facebook Videos >1 Minute and Instantly Saw Growth in Performance
Based on ListenFirst’s video analytics and insights, Viacom implemented a revamped social video strategy that focused on longer form content, i.e. longer than one minute, to increase views and reach numbers to where they were prior to the 2018 Facebook algorithm change. The change was meant to promote more meaningful engagement among Facebook’s users, and this correlated with what Viacom analyzed in ListenFirst’s platform – longer video lengths are less likely to be “clickbait” and therefore are prioritized in the Facebook News Feed.
This resulted in a Viacom seeing a 42% spike in Facebook video views and 27% growth in video responses.
While there’s no question that Facebook’s January 2018 algorithm change was a blow to TV marketers, by using best in class social media tracking tools Viacom learned the obstacle could be overcome by redoubling their efforts around long form video. For entertainment marketing, social media platforms abruptly tweaking their algorithm is always going to be scary, but with the right social intelligence infrastructure, it’s a scenario where media brands can not only survive but thrive.