Analyzing Social Video
What makes one video fall flat and another go viral? That’s a mystery that many are trying to solve. For journalists, the key is to analyze what content has worked to drive audience engagement in the past and try to replicate it.
If you have a YouTube channel, you have access to analytics that will help you understand the content that’s most likely to resonate with your audience. Here’s a look at the Top 10 Videos on the NewsWatch Ole Miss YouTube page. NewsWatch is the student-produced newscast at the University of Mississippi.
What type of content do you see is most likely to generate views and revenue? Armed with that knowledge, how might you capitalize on that information to grow your audience?
If you said sports content is No. 1, you are right. To give the station’s sports content the best chance to find audience, there are some basic optimization techniques available.
First, you want to make sure any video you upload is categorized under “Sports.” (The default upload category is “People & Blogs.”) You want to make sure the headline describes exactly what your video is about--this is not a tease. And spend some time on your description--more detailed descriptions tend to do better than a short sentence or two. Finally, choose a thumbnail image that’s interesting rather than letting YouTube choose one for you.
Journalists, of course, are trying to do more than drive clicks, right? They're trying to inform audiences, so it may be that "How to Make Slime" videos generate millions of views, but is that what you want to be known for as a news organization? Instead, what journalists need to do is to optimize the video they are already producing to make sure that it has the best possible opportunity to "earn" viral status--to be shared by people who find the content of value.