New Snapcademy Clip Tip Alert! Snapcademy is a snackable series of bite-sized learnings showcasing how to fully utilize SnapStream's blazing-fast, online video workspace. Check out Lesson 2: Export to Twitter!
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
Facebook 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.
“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Since graduating recently from Rice University, guest writer Juliette Richert is continuing her education by listening to as many podcasts about politics, culture, and society as she can get her hands on.
Given Aaron Rupar’s half a million Twitter followers, his work is obviously popular, but why? As a millennial, I haven’t turned on cable TV in more than 5 years. Like much of my generation and the country, I get my news from the Internet and social media. Using short videos to share news stories on his Twitter feed and in his writing with Vox, Rupar connects Internet and social media users to the world of TV watchers, shedding light on the filter through which much of America receives news and information.
In 2017, Rupar was working as a journalist with Center for American Progress and had only a couple of thousand followers. That number has since soared after his “John Kelly” post (as seen below) was retweeted more than six thousand times, the most retweets he had received up until that point. This successful tweet propelled Rupar from a meager 4K Twitter followers to nearly half of a million, a 10x increase in followers over the past 3 years.
John Kelly on Fox
Rupar is now an associate editor for politics and policy at Vox, an avid Twitter user, and self-labeled liberal. He’s refined his beat from politics to primarily Congress, the Republican party, and Trump. Rupar publishes short pieces for Vox nearly every day, designed to give context around current events. His quick response time, sense of humor, and easy-to-read writing style make Rupar a strong reporter. Rupar’s Twitter feed, which he updates more than 30 times a day, has a critical and often satirical take on politics and the White House.
His most popular tweet from each thread gives a brief look at what people found interesting or important, but his long threads give you the chance to dig into the details of the event minute-by-minute, without ever having to watch the whole thing. Rupar’s Twitter feed is fun to explore, and you can easily get lost in rabbit hole-threads. Along with entertainment value, his work provides access to video that many people might not see otherwise.
Scrolling through Rupar's feed
Rupar’s time on Twitter and his success as a journalist at Vox have a symbiotic relationship. His Twitter following has helped Vox by indirectly growing their audience and increasing traffic. In order to make his Twitter threads, Rupar has to trim down longer videos. This process allows Rupar to engage with news as he live-tweets and construct rough outlines of his written pieces for Vox. In his writing, Rupar frequently uses short videos pulled from his Twitter-feed to contextualize the topic, providing audio and visual context that is difficult to replicate with words alone.
“With Trump everything is a spectacle, so it lends itself to video.” - Aaron Rupar
Videos provide context for the viewer to experience and understand the news, according to Rupar. Rupar’s discovery of SnapStream in 2017 was well-timed with the presidency. Trump is the most frequent face seen on Rupar’s feed (rivaled now only by his new daughter, Mia). Trump’s wild oratorical style and polarizing statements certainly help Rupar catch the attention of his audience. However, Rupar is confident that when Trump leaves office (whether that be in 4 more years or a couple months), there will still be high demand for news clips on Twitter.
“It’s one thing to have an opinion on politics, but if you have the video with it…people like to see people saying things” - Aaron Rupar
Why are some people ditching TV and paying attention to shorter clips of news? News consumers feel pressed for time and are exhausted by the current news cycle, so shorter clips are a quick way to consume news. If a video isn’t interesting enough, I’ll skip around to find the highlights. Rupar basically does that work for you.
Social media is also crafted to keep us moving down the feed, consuming as many posts as possible. Instead of competing with other TV stations, reporters now compete with puppy videos and memes for their audience’s attention. Best to make your post eye-catching and to-the-point in order to grab back their attention. Plus, there’s something priceless about seeing things for yourself.
President Trump at a rally in September
Video isn’t going anywhere because it gives you and your audience the ability to make up your own mind. How are you giving your audience the context they deserve?
SnapStream 9.4 brings you a new clipping interface, pre-roll and post-roll branding on clips, integration with Kaltura, and many other bug fixes and improvements. You can see these new features in action by watching our on-demand webinar. Here’s what we’ve added and improved:
A few of the highlights:
- New Clipping Interface
- Pre-roll and Post-roll Branding on Clips
- Kaltura Integration
New Clipping Interface
SnapStream 9.4’s new, snappier clipping interface will look familiar to former SnappyTV users. It gives you more fine-tuned control of in and out points during clip creation. You can configure SnapStream to automatically create an out point once you pick an in point (you can customize this—for example, you can set the automatic out point to occur after 10 seconds each time). Then, refine that out point and you’re done.
The software will also show you a zooming trackbar that automatically sizes to the length of that clip. You can then go forward or backward by frame or second. The in and out point thumbnails allow you to quickly preview the clip’s start and end frames. You can also loop the whole clip or loop the last 2 seconds.
To begin, use your mouse or keyboard to select an in point on a video.
Pre-roll and Post-roll Branding on Clips
Give your brand one look in one place. With SnapStream 9.4, you can easily add custom branding, such as your company’s video intro, to your clips—no need to spend time using an additional video editor.
Simply upload and save your desired brandings for pre-rolls and post-rolls. Then, select the specific brandings you want to use from a drop-down menu as you create clips.
To get started, go to the “Admin” tab and choose “Brandings” on the left-hand menu.
Natively export your clips in SnapStream to Kaltura. Kaltura is our newest integration with an OVP. SnapStream now has native support for 14 cloud storage, OVP, CDN, and MAM services—and is always adding more based on customer requests.
To start using our newest integration, go to SnapStream and set up Kaltura as an external account. Don’t use Kaltura, but are curious? Learn more.
SnapStream 9.4 has many other bug fixes and improvements, like updates to the clipping hotkeys and the option to auto-minimize task pop-ups. Please read the full release notes.
(Usually 1 hour)
SnapStream’s support team will perform the upgrade via a remote session.
See SnapStream 9.4 in action.
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.