Social Media Logo Collage

What is a video view? Depends on who you are asking

When you are measuring the reach of an internet video, one of the most important question is an obvious one: How many views can that video rack up?

Okay, fair enough.  But, here’s a more important question: What counts as a video view?  It seems straight forward enough, but each platform has a different interpretation of what counts as a view, and this is something you must keep in mind when measuring the success of a video.

So, what are the definitions of a video view?

  • YouTube: How, exactly, YouTube counts a view is unknown.  However, a view has to be “requested,” and YouTube has security that stops a view from counting if it’s viewed for “mere seconds.” Autoplayed videos don’t count.
  • Facebook: Facebook has one of the loosest definitions of a video view.  A view counts as when a video is watched for at least three seconds, even if the video autoplays in the Facebook newsfeed. Autoplay will start on the desktop when 100% of the video is visible in the screen, but only 50% on a mobile device.
  • Instagram: Like Facebook, a view is counted when someone watches a video for three seconds.  Views are not accessible to the general public, however.
  • Snapchat: Very differently measured here – Snapchat video views are counted the instant a video loads.  However, a user has to tap on a video to get it to load.
  • Vine: Views (called Loops) are counted when an entire Vine is watched – usually six seconds.

So, there you have it! Hope this is helpful!

First Cruz, then Paul: Rand Paul has multiple social media disasters at Presidential announcement

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how Senator Ted Cruz announced his Presidential campaign to much fanfare, and two social media disasters. Not to be outdone, Senator Rand Paul kicked off his Presidential campaign yesterday, only to walk into five digital fails!

First, and probably most seriously, was his Twitter avatar trainwreck, which actually was two fails in one.  Senator Paul’s campaign website has a series of pictures to which users can change their social media avatars.  When the page was released today, two things were immediately noticeable.  Here’s the first version that appeared:

jew for rand

Jew for Rand?  Really?

Is that too offensive?  Well, it’s not the worst description, no.  I’m Jewish and refer to myself as Jew all the time.  That being said, “Jew” can easily be meant with a derogatory context, and when juxtaposed next to the way that others are described (“Italian American” or “Native-American), it looks insensitive to me.  It’s now “Jewish for Rand” which somehow looks dumber to me, if only because it’s grammatically incorrect:

Jewish for Rand

“Jewish-American for Rand” would have been the way to go, in my opinion.

Next, as noted by the Washington Post, numerous demographics were left out. These include:

  • Independents.
  • Countless demographics groups (German-American, Polish American, Norwegian-American, to name a few).
  • Numerous religious groups (Protestants, Muslims and Atheists come to mind).
  • Veterans.
  • Countless occupations.

Those folks don’t get a specialized avatar, but they can download a generic “Stand With Rand” avatar.

Third was this retweet:

Aurora Shooter Rand Paul Retweet

The man in the photoshopped picture is James Holmes, who killed 12 people at a movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.  Paul’s campaign left the tweet up for 20 minutes before deleting it.

In all fairness, there’s not much you can do when you retweet things under a hashtag.  You can’t know the face of every lunatic in American or world history.  This is also not the first time this has happened to a politician: Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) was once tricked the same way.

Four is the most hilarious: Senator Paul’s website misspelled education:

Rand Paul education

And, finally, was this YouTube blooper:

According to the Washington Post, a copyright robot acaccidentallylagged Paul’s speech, which was then taken down.  It has since been restored:

So, on the whole…not a good day for Senator Paul.  Hopefully the next Republican to kick off their campaign can do better!

Are pictures still the way to breakthrough the Facebook News Feed? Not as much as you’d think.

One of the standard lines about getting your content to appear in someone’s Facebook News Feed is that you have to do better than just plain text: pictures, videos and links.  After all, Facebook’s algorithm has changed so much that it makes sense that only high-value content would actually make it to someone’s eyes, and pics on Twitter lead to more retweets and engagement.

But, according to a new survey by Socialbakers, that’s no longer the case:


And, for pages with more than 100,000 likes, the results were even more striking:


As you can see, photos are very clearly at the bottom of the list for impressions.  At the top is video, with regular old status updates and links near each others.  What is the takeaway?

First, don’t panic, and don’t make any immediate changes to your social strategy.  One study isn’t enough: more data is needed before you can start acting on this conclusion.  What is advisable, however, is that you start paying closer attention to your own Facebook analytics.  Are pictures still doing well for you?  How are they doing compared to other types of content?

The real takeaway, as far as I am concerned, is that video is rising on Facebook.  This is intentional.  Facebook has making a real challenge to YouTube in this realm, and with some success: in terms of overall internet video views, YouTube is falling and Facebook is rising. This is clearly part of an intentional effort: during the past year, Facebook has started offering tips to users on how to make better, more engaging videos.  It has also unveiled videos that automatically play in your newsfeed and offered more detailed video analytics.

The rise of video on Facebook is a game changer and sets up Facebook to take on a new segment of the internet traffic population.  The conclusion for elected officials and any business that uses social media is obvious: go where the eyes are.  That’s video.

President Obama State of the Union

Report: The State of the Union will be customized for Twitter and YouTube

Many in politics have lamented the need for the 30- and 6-second soundbite, in which elected officials no longer make detailed policy statements, but instead customize their remarks to fit into a 6 or 30 second soundbite.

It appears we are now entering the next level.  From a Los Angeles Times article:

…in 2015, just giving a speech in prime time is no longer enough. The platform that introduced to the world the Four Freedoms and the War on Poverty is now a Twitter-friendly, YouTube-able event to be consumed in as many ways as Americans have screens.

The report noted that the President is using social media to promote his initiatives and engaging in interviews with YouTube stars.  This is in response, at least in part, to a decline in viewership of the State of the Union address – the White House is trying to use social media to reengage the American public.

Well, at least no one has said that the President will make policy statements in 140 characters or less.

So, what does this mean?  If you believe, as I do, that social media can be an exceptionally good thing for civic engagement, its good news: The President is using social media to better engage in a conversation with the American people.  Obviously there is a political purpose to this as well: the President and his team are hoping to use social media to boost their message, influence and reach.

If you are involved in politics and government, what are the takeaways here? A few things:

  • Social media is vitally necessary to augment your reach – however, the emphasis here needs to be on the word augment.  It’s difficult to use social media for message creation in and of itself, but you can use it to enhance and amplify whatever point you are trying to get across.
  • Need a boost to a traditional platform?  Social media is the way to go. As the White House is proving, you can use social media to reinvigorate a platform that has become “stale” and in need of an injection of activity.
  • When it comes to communication platforms, the old and the new have merged. The challenge for the White House will be to maintain the dignity of the State of the Union while still using new communications platforms.  For example, at campaign rallies, it is standard for hashtags to be displayed on signage.  That, obviously, is not possible for the State of the Union (a hashtag sign behind the President would be just a bit tacky).  So, will they create a hashtag for the event ahead of time?  For specific proposals that the President is going to make?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts – what kind of luck will the President have with using social media with the State of the Union?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Social media demographics: Who uses what in 2014

I was just working on a report for a client and came up with some information that I thought was worth sharing.  Everyone who deals with social media, of course, has a limited budget in terms of money and time.  If you are going to use social media, you need to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck and not using networks that aren’t going to serve your purposes.  To that end, here’s a quick snapshot at some of the demographic information for social media networks.  I hope this information is useful to you!

  • Facebook
    • 900,000,000 unique monthly visitors, with about 150,000 million American accounts (that’s 40% of America).
    • Skews female.  Penetration among age groups declines as users get older, but 60% of 50-64 year olds who are online have a Facebook account, as do 45% of online Americans who are +65.
    • Engagement is declining among younger Americans, but given raw numbers, this is still a huge presence on Facebook.
  • YouTube
    • One billion people watch videos on YouTube every day.
    • Most popular age demographic is 18-29.  No gender difference.
    • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 40% of the use on this network comes from a mobile device.
  • Twitter
    • Roughly 40 million Americans use Twitter.
    • Majority of users are 49 or younger, but the fastest growing Demographic is 55-64.
    • Has higher penetration among African-Americans than whites.
    • More males use Twitter than females.
  • Tumblr
    • Over 200,000,000 Tumblr blogs exist, and there are more than 110 million daily posts.
    • 66% of users are under 35, and 39% of users are under 25.
    • Only 35% of Tumblr users make more than $50,000.
    • High minority penetration rate; Hispanics and African-Americans make up 29% of Tumblr blogs.
  • Instagram
    • Roughly 35 million Americans have Instagram accounts.
    • 28% of users are 18-24.
    • More urban users are on Instagram than people who live in rural or suburban locations.
  • Vine
    • 11% of all millennials have vine on their smartphones, and 9% of Americans have accessed Vine.
    • Over 1 billion loops are watched every day.
    • 5 vines are tweeted every second.

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Conservative Think Tank: Don’t worry about date rape, ladies

AEI_logoFor the life of me, I can’t understand what’s happening here.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a conservative think tank dedicated to “producing leading research in several key policy areas that weave a tapestry of the organization’s core beliefs: respect and support for the power of free enterprise, a strong defense centered on smart international relations, and opportunity for all to achieve the American dream.”  It is certainly one of the more prominent think tanks in this country and is regularly involved in the political debate.

The above paragraph begs the question: why the heck are they getting involved in a conversation about date rape, and why are they minimizing the subject?

Earlier this week, AEI posted this video from its YouTube channel:


The video opens with, “Ladies, have you been told not to drink the punch at parties?  Have you asked a friend to watch your drink because you are afraid to leave it alone, even for a moment…There are ‘supposedly’ predators…..”

And look, computer simulated stills!


You can’t make this stuff up.  I wish it was made up, but it’s not.

The video goes on to downplay the threat of date rape drugs, saying, “Most commonly, victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault are severely intoxicated, often from their own volition.”

From all reports, the claims made in the video are incorrect.  25% of all women report that drugs were a factor in their rape – not a small number by any stretch of the imagination.

According to the Huffington Post, “conservative pundits have been leading the backlash” against the Obama Administrations push to reduce sexual assaults on college campuses.  So, this video would seem to be part of that response.

I guess that begs the question: really?  Really? The President of the United States is trying to make women on college campuses safe from sexual assault, and there are some out there who are opposed to such a mission?  This is one of the most bizarre uses of YouTube I’ve ever seen – the topic is strange and the odd computer animation seems like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit that airs close to the conclusion of the program, when most of the viewers have already gone to bed.  I cannot believe that there are groups out there which think this is a good use of resources.  The social media lesson here?  Stick to areas that matter and won’t cause a backlash.

GOP candidate withdraws from race after homophobic, racial slurs

For today’s entry, we have the latest entrant into the “Really?  REALLY?” club.  Meet Jacob Dorsey, who was, until very recently, the Republican candidate for State Representative in Wisconsin’s 44th Legislative District.  Dorsey was seeking to unseat Representative Deb Kolste.

Dorsey, 19, was caught using a series of extremely offensive words in tweets and YouTube comments by NOManiacs, a blog which seeks to “expose NOM [National Organization of Marriage] and its supporters.

It started when the tweet below was discovered. In response to a news story about a U.S. Circuit Court rejecting Utah’s request to stop same-sex marriages, Dorsey tweeted, “fags need 2 leave my favorite state alone”:

Jack Dorsey homophobic tweet

Dorsey apologized for the comments, saying:

I regret using unacceptable and hurtful language on social media last year and sincerely apologize for doing so. I recognized the inappropriateness of the tweet shortly after sending it and promptly deleted it. I am a staunch supporter of traditional marriage, but the language I used is not in keeping with my character, family values and Christian upbringing, and I fully acknowledge that.

But that wasn’t all. As captured by NOManiacs, Dorsey made these two comments in YouTube videos:

  • “Niggers trash cars, I’m not selling my town car to one…….”
  • “I hate Obama and the national urban bastards”

Jack Dorsey Offensive Tweets comments blacks

As you can imagine, the backlash was swift.  The local Republican Party condemned the remarks and requested that Dorsey return a donation that they made to him.  Dorsey wound up withdrawing from the race, though his name will remain on the ballot, saying:

I have decided to withdraw from the race due to insensitive remarks that have surfaced from years past…This race has been extremely hard on my family and myself.

Point for Mr. Dorsey: One way to make elections easier on yourself, and your family, is to not use language that is nearly universally despised.  I’ll also add that this is a bit of a new one: I’ve never seen YouTube comments used against a candidate or elected official, but these comments were pretty clearly offensive and a major social media goof.

Digital is forever.  Mr. Dorsey found that one out the hard way.