The Week magazine, a London newsweekly, set out to accomplish an ambitious feat: launch a video operation while simultaneously gearing up for the launch of a brand new daily briefing app, The Week Day.
The most typical approach for print publications making the leap to video is to build an expensive studio and hire a team of broadcast video journalists. Basically, creating television for the Internet.
Those who have gone this route know the costs are enormous — and often are not recouped until years down the line, if at all.
The Week was facing exactly the challenge that the online video creation platform Wochit was built to address: how to create video for online audiences in a way that makes financial sense.
The answer Wochit presented was streamlined video creation that allowed The Week to launch a successful video operation with its existing editorial team and create bespoke videos tailored to mobile audiences.
This was done in the format of a twice-daily news wrap that appears in each of the morning and afternoon editions of The Week Day. It’s a tight, one-minute video briefing on the top three headline stories readers should know about.
Wochit and The Week worked together closely to build the graphic template for these videos, integrating the strong visual identity of the new app.
The app was a success, reaching No. 2 in News on the App Store, beat only by BBC News.
It also boasted higher completion rates of The Week’s mobile-first videos than the previous norm on the desktop site. The average view time was 63 seconds. Given the average length of the videos is 67 seconds, this suggests a completion rate close to 100%.
The Week then posted these video news wraps to Facebook, where they did fetch a fair amount of views. However, digital editor Holden Frith noted the videos were not being shared. Frith opted for some strategic experimentation by crafting videos on Wochit with a social audience in mind. The results were encouraging.
We built a graphic template for these social-first videos, without an intro logo and using brighter, more eye-catching text styles. There also was a clear call to action at the end of each clip to “Share This Video.” The videos were shared nearly 20 times more than those originally created for the app.
Frith’s experiment led him to a realisation: all social videos are mobile, but not all mobile videos are social.
Facebook currently clocks up about eight billion video views a week, with 75% of those coming from mobile devices. Any media company producing video for Facebook must keep mobile audiences in mind, incorporating large, legible text overlays to serve those viewers on small screens not listening to voiceovers.
Because of the incredible amplification opportunity it presents, the guiding metric for creating Facebook video is to maximise share count.
By contrast, users of new apps have very different intentions and expectations for videos than those visiting Facebook. The content feed is not interspersed with baby photos and sunsets, but focused and informative. The metric of importance in this case is not shares, but completion rate on videos.
Results come from equipping yourself with the right tools for experimentation, so you can figure out what resonates with your audience in the mobile context, social media, or both.