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TODD SMITH: Only 1 percent of videos go viral new study reveals


Only 1 percent of videos posted to Facebook actually end up going viral – but it probably helps if your video is square rather than horizontal or vertical, is engaging in ways beyond likes, and/or is geared toward Spanish speakers, an analysis by social video production company Wochit found.

Wochit analyzed more than 5,000 social videos that were created by more than 100 publishers between March and May 2017. It compared the results to the three-month period between December 2016 and February 2017.

Wochit uses artificial intelligence to create and help distribute short-form social videos around trending topics for various media companies including Time Inc., Gannett, and Der Spiegel. (Last year, The New York Times’ John Herrman took a look at Wochit and its rival video automation company, Wibbitz.) This study was based off of the video content it has developed and shared for its clients.

» More video, more money: Earlier this year, 75.95 percent of Wochit’s publishers said they planned to push video as a strategy for increased engagement and revenue. The analysis found a strong correlation between the number of videos posted on a Facebook page and the total number of views received.

» Strong videos evoke strong feelings: Views, comments, and shares are up 20 to 30 percent per video on average, but likes are actually dropping. People reacted – a.k.a. responded with love, sad, wow, haha, or angry – almost 40 percent more between March and May 2017 than they did between December 2016 and February 2017. Likes went down by nearly 17 percent, according to Wochit’s numbers.

» Being square is no longer a bad thing: Who needs vertical or horizontal framing when you can go for a square shot, which takes up 78 percent more “screen real estate in the [mobile] social feed”? Average views for square videos rose 136.6 percent over horizontal videos, with increases in the double digits for shares, likes, and comments. Most videos are still published as horizontal shots, though the number of square videos produced climbed about 10 percentage points, to 39.8 percent.

» The elite one percent: Wochit defines “going viral” as hitting one million views, and the number of videos in its arsenal reaching that benchmark is consistent: 1.1 percent. It’s considered the “lion’s share of total engagement, receiving 43.2 percent of total views and 63.98 percent of total shares.”

» Going South: The only countries that view/share videos more than the United States are Spain and Mexico.

Google’s newest feature helps people in a crisis

Google’s latest feature is SOS Alerts, which displays relevant information in search results and in Google Maps to help those affected by a crisis. Google has been testing the feature but publicly announced it last week.

When Google marks an event as a crisis, it will provide certain details to those within the vicinity of the incident, such as relevant news stories, a feed of instructions from local authorities, a map of the affected area, links to shelter information, and phone numbers for reporting details or listening to updates.

Those outside of the region will also see things such as news stories and ways to donate to those in need. Google will push notifications to those in the area that points them to this information as well.

“This is really about how to address people’s needs during a crisis in terms of giving them basic information,” said Yossi Matias, a vice president of engineering at Google. “What’s going on, where is it, what should I be doing?”

Google Maps, meanwhile, will show a specific icon for the incident in addition to helpful phone numbers and websites. Google also says changes resulting from the crisis, such as road closures, will appear in real time.

For SOS alerts, the company is currently focusing on large-scale global emergencies rather than local accidents such as train derailments.

“The factors we take into consideration [are] the level of impact, how many people [are affected], public interest, and most importantly how helpful can we be to the people that are interested in the crisis,” Matias said.

The new feature builds on Google’s existing safety tools, such as Google Person Finder, which helps people reconnect with loved ones after a disaster, Google Crisis Map, and Google Public Alerts.

Google isn’t the only company using it’s massive reach to help those impacted by catastrophes. Facebook’s Safety Check feature, initially launched in 2014, allows those in affected areas to mark themselves as safe in order to let family and friends know they’re unharmed.

Dysfunctional Mic | President Trump & White House redefining dysfunctional politics

President Trump – and his disengaged White House – has hit a new level of dysfunction.

The Donald’s continuous belittling his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his recusal amidst the Russian investigation is unprofessional and irresponsible.

His handling of his White House team is so beguiling that the presidency is beginning to look more and more like a reality TV program, than the highest office in the land. The constant drumroll against his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and his potty-mouthed, vulgar, vile communications director Anthony Scaramucci, whose wife filed for divorce soon after the volcano of negativity erupted escalated the soap opera factor. Then, before the ink dried on The Spin Cycle, Scaramucci was removed as the White House communications director by Priebus’ replacement – Trump’s Homeland Security secretary and Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly – just 10 days into his post.

It’s evident Kelly is seeking to impose more discipline in a misguided White House, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

And the dysfunctional cherry on top of all this – and perhaps one of the biggest missteps of his presidency – was his political rant at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree.

Presidential addresses are a rich tradition in scouting, since every president is also an honorary president of the Boy Scouts. These quadrennial Jamborees are the perfect platform for inspiring hope in our future leaders, but instead, Trump went rogue, bragging about his election, threatening a cabinet member (Sessions), chastising Congress on the health care reform debacle and again mocking his predecessor.

Instead of offering a message about living by the Scout Oath and Scout Law, serving and working for the common good, he wallowed in the same swamp he has promised to drain.

While all this played out, The Spin Cycle contemplated the tenets of the Scout Law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Unfortunately none of these represent Trump or his tirade. In light of the many recent missteps at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the president – and his wayward administration – would be well served to take a page out of the Boy Scout handbook!

Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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