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!

Scott Carins UKIP

In Britain, candidate in hot water for making pro-Nazi online comments

Scott Cairns is a 21 year old UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) candidate for office in Britain.  UKIP is a right-leaning party that has had to repeatedly fend off accusations of racism, and has also had multiple social media fails, as documented here.

Last week, word broke that Cairns became the latest UKIP entrant into the category of saying something racist on social media.  As originally noted by journalist Aidan Kerr, Cairns made a series of racist and seemingly pro-facist statements on social media:

In that first tweet, Cairns is referring to Alex Salmond, a Scottish politician and former fourth First Minister to Scotland.

Then there are these comments and Facebook updates:

The story, of course, went national across Britain – probably not the kind of exposure that Carins was looking for.

In response to the allegations, Carins issued a series of tweets:

His Twitter profile no longer exists

As for UKIP, the party said they would investigate the comments but expressed support behind the idea that his account could have been “compromised”: “We’re investigating the situation. It’s quite possible that his accounts have been compromised.”

The excuse is ridiculous.  In 2012, someone created a fake profile of a random citizen (who was not a candidate for office at the time) for the purpose of shooting off a series of racist comments?  Come on, that doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test.  What this really shows, more than anything else, is that everyone has to be careful with what they put online, even when you are younger.  As we have seen time and time again, comments that you make online can come back to haunt you, regardless of when you make them.

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!

Twitter, YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command hacked

U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, is responsible for “U.S. security interests in 20 nations, stretching through the Arabian Gulf region into Central Asia.”  This is obviously a highly important section of the military, and one that has a large degree of responsibility.  Naturally, the enemies of the United States are not big fans of the work that CENTCOM does.

That was on full display this past Monday, when the Twitter and YouTube accounts of CENTCOM were hacked:

Centcom tweet Centcom hacked

Even more frightening: when the Twitter account was hacked, spreadsheets appeared that displayed the home contact information of retired Army Generals.

Both hacks lasted less than half an hour before the compromised accounts were suspended.  They have since been restored, and the FBI is now investigating the attack.  Adding insult to injury: President Obama was speaking on cyber security as the hack was occurring.

CENTCOM acknowledged the hacking in a statement:

These sites reside on commercial, non-Defense Department servers and both sites have been temporarily taken offline while we look into the incident further. CENTCOM’s operational military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command. CENTCOM will restore service to its Twitter and YouTube accounts as quickly as possible. We are viewing this purely as a case of cybervandalism.

This isn’t the first time a prominent government account has been hacked: the same has happened to a variety of prominent political officials, including President Obama.  The statement released by CENTCOM, of course, did not reveal anything about how the accounts were compromised, and I doubt we will ever hear the answer to that question, given that it could involve a sensitive internal security breach.  However, there are some common sense ways that anyone can reduce their exposure to having their social media accounts compromised:

  • Train your staff: This entire incident could have occured simply because someone at CENTCOM fell for a phishing scam.  Phishing is the process by which a hacker claims to be someone else, usually by compromising another Email address, and sends out an Email that tricks another user into giving up sensitive information.  Train your staff in how to recognize a phishing scam: Some giveaways include links that don’t go to the text that is displayed in the hyperlink itself, poor grammar and massive groups Emails.
  • Two-step verification: Two-step verification is available on most social networks. With two-step verification, someone tries to log into an account, and a code is then texted to a cell that is associated with that account.  This makes it virtually impossible for someone without that code to gain access.  For high-level accounts, this is a requirement.
  • Limit access: Make sure that only a select few have access to the passwords to your social media account.
  • Change your password regularly:  Every three months is a good bet.

Any other tips to add?  I’m all ears – let us know 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.

Enjoy the blog?  Then make sure to buy the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avert a Career-Ending Mistake is now available for purchase on your Kindle!