SnapStream Blog

SnapStream Search Stats - April 2021

April 29 2021 by Sarah Eck
April Search TermsBecause every SnapStream customer creates their own curated searchable video archive, we find that search trends can be as unique as the organizations we serve. Yet it’s always easy to see the biggest moments each month, because they get all our users searching.

This month, from April 1 through April 28, SnapStream users ran 38,956 search queries. Below are some of the hottest search topics of the month.

Fauci, India, and Vaccines -  SnapStream users are still searching for COVID-related terms, as the pandemic enters a new phase. Dr. Fauci appeared in more than 440 searches in April, as new COVID guidance emerged and vaccine availability ramped up. Searches for India rose sharply in the second half of the month as the country faces a heavy surge and new variants.


 

George Floyd - various search terms focused on George Floyd, Minneapolis Police, and Derek Chauvin were prevalent this month as the Chauvin trial resulted in guilty verdicts on all counts. 

 

Oscars - searches for The Oscars/The Academy Awards topped more than 300. It was exciting to see The Oscars come back this year. An incredible list of winners. Thank yous to parents for procreating. And Glenn Close doing Da Butt. It was a weird, wild event.

 

Other big searches this month included:

  • Georgia & Stacey Abrams - many searches focused on the new Georgia voting law and restrictions around providing water to voters waiting in line

  • Matt Gaetz - the term Venmo was often attached to these searches

  • DMX - Ruff Ryder's Anthem will always be our favorite

  • Marijuana & weed - it was 4/20, after all

  • Biden (both Joe and Hunter) - infrastructure was also a hot term as the President shared his $4 Trillion economic plan

  • Amazon - related to the union vote in Alabama

We are excited to see what the next month of searches will bring. 

 

Who Really Watches the News?

April 29 2021 by Sarah Eck

 

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Audience measurement and attribution is tougher than ever, with neither surveys nor browser data telling the full story. Fortunately, the Pew Research Center embarked upon a year-long study to better understand news consumption habits, technology usage, and how research methodologies are trying to keep up.

With the rise of digital media and the diversification of channels used by traditional news sources, not only do researchers have a tougher time measuring readership/viewership, but even audiences themselves are confused. While the Measuring News Consumption in a Digital Era study in its entirety covers ways to improve news attribution surveys and data-gathering, this blog will focus on the findings related to who is watching the news, how they're watching it, and their overall understanding of the news media landscape.

 

News Consumption is Relatively High,About a quarter of Americans could not correctly identify any original reporting sources Media Literacy is Low

While most Americans claim to consume news on a regular or semi-regular basis, confusion exists around how news organizations actually work. 

According to the study, a little over half of respondents are at least fairly confident they can distinguish between news organizations that do their own reporting versus those that do not. 

When asked about specific outlets, including news aggregators like Google News and Apple News, more than two-thirds of respondents either thought these outlets did original reporting or weren't sure. 

 

 

Paying for News is Uncommon and Not Well Understood

Most Americans say they have not paid for news in past year… but when asked more specifically, some who initially said no indicate their household had subscribed or donated

What connotes 'paying for news' has changed drastically over the past decade. Historically, directly paying for news meant subscribing to a publication or purchasing one at the newsstand. With the rise of cable and the internet, more indirect forms emerged. 

Today, Americans get news from a vast set of sources but tend to think of buying access to news in specific terms. When broadly asked if they'd paid for news in the past year, 83% of respondents said they had not. 

However, when researchers asked respondents more specific questions as to whether they had subscribed to print or online news, or donated to a public broadcaster, the data shifted. Of the initial respondents who said they hadn't paid for news in the past year, 19% claimed to subscribe to print or online news when asked in those specific terms.

Overall, the vast majority of Americans are not directly paying to access news sources via subscription or donation, which puts greater pressure on news outlets to secure ad revenue, indirect revenue via licensing, and reimagine their financial models.

Streaming Services and Digital Devices Not Seen as News Sources

Audiences are broadly familiar with streaming devices and services, but a relatively small portion turn to these sources for news content. Less than 20% of study respondents said they get news at least sometimes from streaming devices or services, including Roku, Firestick, Netflix, and Hulu. These same respondents also responded as getting news from TV and digital devices. At the same time 85% of total survey respondents said they get news from mobile devices or PCs. 

Something doesn't quite add up, right?

The real answers emerged in the cognitive interviews with survey respondents. It turns out,  rather than seeing streaming devices or services as news sources, audiences think of them as tools that enable them to access a variety of content - entertainment, information, and possibly news - whenever they want. Put more simply, many respondents think of streaming services as either TV or internet content.


Four Ways to Make the Most of Social Media Algorithms

April 28 2021 by Sarah Eck

 

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Social media algorithms are having a moment in the spotlight. Or rather, under the harsh light of the interrogation lamp.

From last year’s documentary, The Social Dilemma, to this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the algorithms powering the major social media platforms are under scrutiny. These algorithms drive which pieces of content users watch and read. And in our current landscape where the number of information sources is high and media literacy is low, disinformation can spread like wildfire.

That said, it will take time to see whether we’ll see significant changes to the way social media platforms use and tune their algorithms. For now, content creators of all kinds still need to stay aware of the routine updates made by each platform in order to maximize reach and audience engagement.

 

What are Social Media Algorithms?

Social media algorithms are what determine which posts a user sees in his or her feed. Algorithms utilize a variety of factors - including user behavior, post engagement, content type, and source -  to determine which content is most relevant to the user. The higher the relevancy, the more likely the content is to appear at the top of the user’s feed.  

Social media platforms use data science and machine learning to power and constantly tune their algorithms with the intent of providing an ever-better, more highly targeted user experience. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a data scientist to understand what kinds of content and behaviors the platforms’ algorithms favor. Most are pretty transparent about it and provide best practices for content creators, news media organizations, and marketers to follow. 

Here are 4 key things to keep in mind when posting newsworthy content across the various social platforms.

 

Seize the Moment on Twitter

Recently, Twitter’s big push has been around disinformation shared on its platform. Late last year, Twitter  updated its algorithms to focus on limiting the spread of misleading information or fake news. 

For legitimate news organizations, that means less noise and more opportunity for real news to take back the top spots in users’ feeds.

To make the most of this moment, news media and public affairs organizations should leverage every opportunity to deliver tangible proof and context in their Twitter posts. Give your audience the ability to hear directly from the source whenever possible. 

 

Experiment with New Social Platform Features

Social platforms will often give higher visibility or promote content that leverages new features. This can be a particularly useful tactic in expanding your followers and reach.

While Instagram hasn’t officially confirmed that its algorithm is promoting Reels (its response to the popularity of TikTok), users are seeing gains in their engagement when opting for Reels over traditional videos in the feed. In fact sports organizations have gotten major traction using Reels, with the NFL seeing 67% higher engagement

 

Since we're talking about Instagram, it’s also worth noting the platform provides greater real estate on its Explore page to Reels-based content, making it more likely for a new user to discover you and your narratives.



Redouble Your Efforts Around Social Media Best Practices

While social media algorithms are constantly evolving, there are ingredients that remain fairly constant in determining relevancy and where your post will appear in your users’ feeds. 

Audit your best-performing posts from the past few months and look for the following patterns:

Day and time - do you get better performance on certain days of the week? Are there peak times for engagement? Sure, there will always be breaking news that needs to get posted right now. Beyond that, aim to post content designed for your core target at the times where they are most likely to engage.

Conversation starters - which posts get comments or start conversations among your followers? Most platforms’ algorithms favor content that engages users with one another or prompts a response that transcends a simple like. Examine which post types and copy structures most frequently engage your audience to comment.

Impact of video - most platforms’ algorithms favor video-based posts. Look at what percentage of your posts featured video content and aim to increase it month over month. Most news organizations find that video content performs at least 2x better than text- or photo-based content.

 

Skip the Algorithm Entirely

Redesign of Facebook Stories/Main screen | by Giri Poonati | MediumFacebook not only continues to be the primary news source for many Americans, but it also offers a feature that is essentially exempt from its algorithm. Facebook Stories aren’t governed by the platform’s algorithm. Not only that, but Stories are featured at the top of the page, no matter what.


Facebook Stories are also a great mechanism for driving users to your website to look at other news stories. Per Facebook, 58% of users say they’ve gone to a company’s website for more info after watching a Story. Make sure your Story content is easy to understand, as 52% of users rated this as the top priority for this particular type of content. Leverage stories for breaking news, quick hits, and concise narratives.

 

Social media platforms will continue to pursue a more perfect user experience by way of algorithms. Though with the potential for greater oversight or regulation, it remains to be seen what the long-term future looks like for this approach. For the time being, understanding and keeping pace with what your audience wants most - and what the algorithms favor - is vital to maximizing audience reach and engagement for news media organizations of all sizes.

Evolving the Newsroom for Quickly & Accurately Breaking News

March 23 2021 by Sarah Eck

“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”

-Ellen Goodman

 

Speed and accuracy have always been strange bedfellows in the world of news media. The advent of the 24/7 news cycle changed the very idea of breaking news. And it increased the pressure on journalists to break news at a breakneck pace. Add social media to the mix and the need to feed the content beast feels nearly impossible. Then let’s not forget we are in the age of “fake news”, and the news industry must redouble its efforts around accuracy to regain public trust. Oh, and by the way, newsrooms are constantly being asked to do more with less as even the big-name outlets shrink their staffs.

No wonder burnout runs rampant among journalists of all stripes. 

With so many headwinds, what’s the recipe for success in breaking news successfully and accurately in today's media landscape?

Reimagine Your Workflows

Multi-color illustration of a multi-step workflow within an organization.

Uncomfortable as it may be, it’s time for newsrooms to take a real look at their workflows. Any news media organization that is not structured to truly be digital first will continue to face an uphill climb. 

Reexamine every part of the workflow - from research and writing to editing and publishing. Create parallel paths for activities where possible. Ensure your workflows and processes are optimized for speed and accuracy. Then take them to the next level by optimizing for production of the type of content that impact your audience reach and engagement most. Social media posts containing video clips continue to drive higher engagement and have the benefit of providing the visual proof audiences demand. 

And seek out the self-proclaimed “workflow nerds” in your midst. We guarantee your organization has at least a couple of them. They can help by taking a more holistic look across your organization's processes while you stay focused on your next story. They will ensure you rethink your processes to maximize speed, accuracy, and efficiency, and help you find the right tools to get you there.


Augment Your Angle

Illustrated image of two hands forming a square to indicate perspective or angle.Quantity of content is only one part of the equation. The sheer number of messages and news stories audiences see every day makes it challenging for digital journalists and social media managers to create content that truly sticks. In fact, it’s arguable that the angle a journalist brings to a story is more important now than ever. When every news outlet covers the same events, the content and quality of coverage determines who rises to the top and captures reader attention. 

By no means are we saying a quality angle negates the need for speed. You still have to be fast so you don’t miss out on riding the wave of a trending topic. However, the need to stand out among the noise does make a case for taking some time to carefully craft the messaging and context around a news artifact to provide the detail audiences desire.


Build a Searchable Digital Library

Right or wrong, certain topics have a tendency to stay in the news cycle, like high-profile public figures or global pandemics. Others at least rear their heads on a semi-regular basis, like wildfires, mass shootings, and corporate scandals. Shorten the timeline to finding the reference and fact-checking materials you need by building and maintaining a curated, searchable digital archive.

Illustrated image of search bar to indicate curated, searchable digital library.Sure, broad-based search engines may eventually help you find what you're looking for. Depending on how far back you're looking, it may be hit or miss whether the footage you need is still available. Curating your search universe to focus on your most-used sources saves precious minutes and allows you to be sure you're referencing reliable, accurate information. And we all know that when it comes to breaking news, every minute counts.

 

Curious how improvements like these look in practice? Check out our POLITICO case study

 

Why the Mars Video Clip Matters for Digital Content Creators

February 24 2021 by Sarah Eck

It’s official. Powerful audio and video moments can come from literally anywhere. We now know what a strong breeze sounds like on Mars. MARS. 

Visual of video image from Mars rover, Perseverance with overlay of waves to represent audio

 

 

For the first time, we are able to see the moment a rover touches down on another planet. Not only could we actually view the landing of the Perseverance, getting to also hear the sounds at Jezero Crater brings the environment on the red planet to life.

As if we weren’t already creating enough video content here at home, now we’ve got it coming from other parts of the universe. (Which is incredibly cool and makes our nerd hearts smile). It begs the question - if we can see and hear Mars - what might we be missing? If we can get video footage of nearly anything, won’t we expect to see everything? Is there any boundary to the potential of visual (or audio) proof?

 

Endless Possibilities 

Video hasn’t yet hit its peak - and likely won’t for some time. Yes, consumers are spending 86% more time consuming digital video than they did just five years ago. However, in many digital channels we still see large year over year increases in video consumption. Twitter is still experiencing gains in video use and watch time among its users, with no signs of slowing down.

With the growth of video-driven platforms such as TikTok, and the ability for anyone to capture a newsworthy event on their cell phone, we’ve only scratched the surface of building a collective video library of epic proportions.

As video sources and consumption grow, two significant challenges emerge for digital content creators: 

Let’s quickly explore both and a few things to think about in addressing each one head on.

 

Find Video Gold by Reducing Your Search Area

Broad-based search engines give us access to the whole world. A few keywords can lead to discovering new worlds, new foods, new products, new people and more. It can actually be a bit mind boggling. It's why a quarter of users click the first Google search result and few venture beyond the first page. 

But if you really think about it, you probably have a handful of go-to sources. Those that you trust and continually go back to. Most people do, whether they are content creators, social media managers, or video journalists. 

So as you think about ways to minimize the growing noise to find key moments or clips, look for tools and solutions that allow you to create your own curated search engine. Start building a library of video moments from your most-used sources, the ones you can count on to drive engagement. That way, when you need to find video content quickly, the universe you're searching in is drastically smaller.

 

Clips, But Make It Contextual

The rules for video in social media channels vary. For advertisers, a viewer's attention span is exceptionally short. The average watch time per video ad on Facebook is currently around 10 seconds. And some marketers have found the greatest success with YouTube pre-roll ads that are no longer than eight seconds. 

For news, educational, and entertainment-based video content, the story is a bit different.

Digital journalists have plenty of room to use longer, more context-driven video to build trust in news content found in social media channels. According to the Pew Research Center, while half of Americans get news on social media sites at least sometimes, 60% of them expect the news they see in these channels to be inaccurate. Only three in 10 say it helps them understand current events. Using video as the basis for crafting well-rounded narratives can go a long way in closing these gaps.

Longer-form, more detailed, context-rich videos can also have a positive monetary impact. BuzzFeed has reportedly increased its Facebook Watch revenue by approximately 20% through production of more videos that are more than three minutes in length. When there is a real story to tell, and it is told well in a way that promotes understanding, viewers will engage.

 

Maybe a massive influx of video from outside the boundaries of Earth isn't imminent - yet. But now is the time for digital content creators to develop methodologies for quickly seeing through the noise to get to the video moments that deliver context, build great stories, and are truly out of this world.

Impactful Live-Tweeting Strategies We Saw From the First Round of the Democratic Debates

June 27 2019 by Tina Nazerian

2020 Democratic Candidates Debate - Night No. 1 - 09_02_34 PM                                                                                                                                                          Photo Credit: SnapStream 

The race for the 2020 presidential election is well underway. Ten candidates took the stage in Miami on Wednesday night for the first round of the Democratic debates. While the candidates wrangled their thoughts and policy positions, news outlets were hard at work capturing every interesting comment and meme-able reaction. Here are some impactful live-tweeting strategies the SnapStream team saw some of our media customers use Wednesday night. 

 

Let One Reporter Take Over Your Twitter Account

BuzzFeed News streamlined its live-tweeting of the first round of Democratic Debates by letting reporter Ryan Brooks, who covers the Democrats, take over its Twitter account. Brooks quickly delivered some great content to the 1.3 million Twitter accounts that follow BuzzFeed News. 

 

 

Capture and Caption Funny Moments

When Beto O’Rourke started speaking Spanish to answer his first question, many people noticed Cory Booker’s reaction. The Daily Show instantly grabbed the perfect image of the moment, added a hilarious caption, and put it on Twitter. The post has been liked more than 60,000 times, and retweeted more than 11,000 times. 

 

 


Enhance Your Video Clips with Analysis

Politico also tweeted about O’Rourke speaking Spanish for part of his first response. But rather than focusing on Booker’s reaction, the organization took a different approach. It tweeted out a video clip of the moment, and added quotes from two of its staff members above the video. Politico’s Twitter followers not only got to immediately watch the scene on their devices, but they also got to read two very different takes on it. The video has gotten over 35,000 views. 

 

Tonight, 10 other Democratic candidates will have their turn. Which live-tweeting strategies will your team use? 


SnapStream makes TV social. Our technology lets users instantly capture, create, and share quality video clips, GIFs, and images to a variety of social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. 

Introducing the SnapStream TV Set-Top Box

December 19 2016 by Sara Howard

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We’re excited to announce a new product that works as an accessory to your SnapStream server: the SnapStream TV Set-Top Box.

With a SnapStream Server and the SnapStream TV Set-Top Box, watch live & recorded TV on any PC, Mac, Chromebook or television in your organization. SnapStream TV connects to your LAN via your wired or wireless network and it connects to your television via HDMI. Read more...

 

 

Framing the Story with Video: How the Washington Examiner Increases Social Engagement.

September 09 2016 by Sara Howard

Monitor_Screen_Closeup_Mockup.png
Sean_Langille.pngStarted in 2005 as a print publicationThe Washington Examiner is today one of our most active social customers. They're dedicated to engaging readers by bringing them the latest in breaking news and politics.  

One of the driving forces behind this engagement is Sean Langille (fun fact about Sean, he started writing for his city newspaper when he was in 2nd grade). He was nice enough to chat with us about best practices for social engagement and what life was like before SnapStream.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your role at the Washington Examiner?

Sean: I have the title of Digital Engagement Editor, so I work a lot with social media and different ways to digitally market our product. But I also work with vendors to find ways that we can enhance our product. Part of my job is helping to drive digital strategy in Facebook and Twitter and our multi-media content, working with interns to help curate that content.

Q: What is your thought-process behind portraying a visual strategy?

Sean: When we tell a story we try to move beyond just using the text. It’s about using infographics, photos and videos. For instance, just now I was using SnapStream to clip the president saying that Donald Trump was “unfit and woefully unprepared”. We understand that people are going to read text, but we have to offer our audience infographics, imagery and video elements. If they can click through and watch a video of Obama saying the quote, then it provides a much stronger presentation.



"When we tell a story we try to move beyond just using the text. It’s about using infographics, photos and videos".



Q: 
Can you tell me how you and your team are using SnapStream? How do you find that it is most effective?

Sean: The way it usually works is that we have interns help us use SnapStream. Usually myself and the other digital editor will  watch videos and speeches and we’ll call out to the interns and say “hey, Obama said this…”. When we’re at the conventions and there are speakers, we’ll all be monitoring it. We actually have a dedicated "Slack" channel that is actually called “SnapStream”, and we can post in there “hey, so-and-so said this, who can grab it?”. The interns cut that up, and then I go through that in the library and further fine-tune it. From there, we put it out to Twitter or Facebook, using "ShowSqueeze" to put it out to Facebook.

washington_examiner_tweet1.pngWe use a social distribution platform called “SocialFlow”, so sometimes we’ll do a combination of directly publishing from SnapStream or sometimes we’ll put it directly into SocialFlow to best optimize when that video should go out. We’d love to see an option to recycle from within SnapStream (UPDATE! This functionality is now available in SnapStream 7.2). For instance, we had one yesterday… Pat Smith was on CNN and we tweeted it out and got 300+ retweets with just that video. We know that kind of content is popular with our audience so it would be great if we had a way to re-package that.

 



"Now that we have SnapStream, within minutes or seconds of someone saying something newsworthy, we can get that out and be ahead of our competition".


 

Sean: Prior to SnapStream, during a debate or big event night, trey_gowdy.pngwe would know when these videos happen so we’d be clipping off of some live stream, literally screen grabbing and then getting it to our video team and then have to wait for editing to push that out.


Now that we have SnapStream, within minutes or seconds of someone saying something newsworthy, we can get that out and be ahead of our competition. If we’re the first one to it, then it takes off. It’s something as simple as Trey Gowdy on "Meet the Press" saying “I endorse Donald Trump”, we take that phrase, put it out there and we’re one of the first. With the amount of social engagement it can drive… I don’t think we could live without it.

Q: Can you tell me about the team workflow?

Sean: Myself and my digital editor will tell the interns about someone being on tv, or a speech, or event. We’ll have interns monitoring these events, and we’ll notice certain soundbites, telling them to pay attention to when a particular person speaks, or to look out for certain terms. What we usually have them do is pay attention to the newsmakers or the broader bites. But with their own initiative, they’re able to look at more content and ask us what we think of additional items. 

Sometimes it’s not about what is being said, but physical reactions. People make weird faces, or we’ll catch interesting things like when CSPAN flashed WikiLeaks during Hillary Clinton’s speech. So we’re able to go back into these clips and create GIFs to capture these interesting little moments… like when we captured Hillary Clinton’s weird reaction to fireworks. 

 

Q: How do you manage the timing of social posts? Social happens in an instant, how do you make sure that you’re heard?

Sean: It’s about staying in time, but sometimes offering a little bit different. Can we capture the side that no one else is looking at, getting the contrarian viewpoint. Showing the different sides of the story and not just the one that is popular.

Q: How are you using this for conventions?

Sean: We have setup VPNs, so that people can log into SnapStream wherever they are. This is what we did at the conventions. Overall, things were functioning well and we were able to log in and clip things, as well as coordinate with the interns back in DC.

Q: So, you being away from the office isn’t constricting your ability to post videos and GIFs on Twitter and Facebook?

Sean: No, not at all.



"We’re using SnapStream to transform the way we do social".



Q: How are you framing the conversation, how are you getting the best reactions?

Sean: It’s about keeping track of what everyone else is doing. We use a lot of listening tools to see what the competition is doing. But we’re trying to advance the story. There is the story of Trump fighting with the Kahn family, as compared to the woman who lost her son in Benghazi speaking at the Republican download.pngNational Convention. We wanted to see what the reaction was to the media coverage of both, and we were one of the few that was using SnapStream to put those videos out there. It’s about being aware of the storyline that everyone else is doing, but what are the other emerging storylines coming out of this.

Sometimes it’s about going beyond the other clips that everyone else is putting out. We want to be thought of as a place where you know you can go to get a good snapshot of what was said at the conventions. Essentially, you have a highlight reel of what everyone said. If you look through our Twitter stream and what we did on Facebook during the convention, we put out 100’s of SnapStream videos, using it as a tool for engagement. 

 

Q: Why is this something that you are passionate about, where did this need to “show both sides” come from?

Sean: I have always been of the mindset that everyone else is covering it the same way, let’s advance the story and see what the other voices are. There are so many voices saying the same thing that in order to differentiate yourself, you have to find ways and find the content that will balance that out. But also, there are stories that will get buried because people are so wrapped up talking about one thing. 

What I’m most passionate about is telling the story well. You have to have all the elements to do that, whether it’s infographics, video… because news now isn’t just text. When you click on a news story, what’s going to keep you on the page the longest? We want to establish ourselves as an authority for a certain kind of content. So that if you want this kind of content, we are where you go. 

Q: Thank you so much for speaking with me Sean, is there anything else you wanted to add or talk about before we wrap up?

Sean: We’re using SnapStream to transform the way we do social. We’re trying to reach a society that’s a little bit ADD, and entice them to actually read a news story. I think the larger story is how news outlets are using every tool at their disposal, especially SnapStream, to make sure that news as a written medium doesn’t die.

 


 

About Sean Langille

Sean Langille is Digital Engagement Editor for the Washington Examiner. He also serves as an associate producer for Fox News Channel, where he aided in the launch of the Fox News First daily political email newsletter. Sean also has an extensive radio background having produced "The Laura Ingraham Show" and working as an on-air host in Virginia and Massachusetts.

 

What is SnapStream? There's an unlimited amount of video content out there: 24/7 news channels, breaking news events, sports, talk shows, awards galas, entertainment shows, and so much more.

SnapStream makes a real-time news and media search engine that makes it fast and easy to find the video moments that support our customers telling great stories.

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