The Winding Road of Social Video Strategy

The Precarious Pivot to Video

Like many things on the internet, the value of social video has taken a few sharp turns in recent years. At the end of 2016, the digital publishing climate seemed to be weathering an all-in video strategy storm. The shift was elevated when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the platform would embrace mostly video in the next five years, sparking layoffs at publishers — including Vox Media and BuzzFeed. The trend continued over the next year with the steady rise of short, readable videos, benchmarked by the success of Tasty and NowThis News.


However, when 2017 came to a close, the complete shift to video appeared to be misguided. The huge push was mostly driven by ad spend, rather than consumer preference. Even the Pew Research Center found that millennials — today's coveted ad target group — still prefer to read the news rather than watch it. So now publishers are shifting again. But it doesn't mean that there isn't space for social video in your 2018 content strategy.

Image Source

The Pendulum Swings Again

While publishers shouldn't be going all in on social video, the value of the visual format is not completely dead. The pendulum is now swinging away from short, sub-60-second videos to ones that feature mid-length duration and higher production quality. Prioritization of video creation as a skill set — not a quick way to create ad revenue — is resonating with users.

For example, media conglomerate Condé Nast is doubling down on its video content in 2018. Part of their shift to video is thanks to the performance of their media property Bon Appetit, which is experiencing enormous success with its food content. Their own take on "Tasty"-style videos lifted Bon Appetit's YouTube subscribers from 34,000 in 2016 to over one million today, and the extra reach is paying off. Videos are now responsible for a quarter of the annual revenue Condé Nast's Lifestyle Collection — Bon Appétit, Architectural Digest, Epicurious, Condé Nast Traveler, Self — produces.

PBS has also found a new audience on YouTube and Facebook thanks to social video. Their 25 social channels pull in millions of views a month, and netted them 316 million views total last year. Like Condé Nast's videos, PBS banks on the mid-length format. One of their most popular videos was a three-minute documentary that featured a behind-the-scenes look at the world's largest aircraft, netting over 22 million views.

The Rise of Content Series

The shift to higher-quality, mid-length video has also brought on the evolution of appointment-style programming, or over-the-top (OTT) content. Research performed by Digiday found that 81% of media executives plan to expand OTT efforts in 2018. While discovery of OTT content can be a challenge for publishers, it yields loyal viewership with the right kind of content. BuzzFeed's content series "Worth It" nets millions of views with every episode:

Facebook Watch — the platform's first true television competitor — continues to book new shows. Publishers like Bustle and Curbed are experimenting with episodic-esque programming on Instagram Stories.

While the publishers who went all in on short-form video in 2016 and 2017 may have gotten burned, there's still space for video in every social strategy. And while viewers may never "tune in" for a specific program like they do with TV, they're likely to engage similarly in the social feeds if the content remains dynamic and relevant.

The Importance of Content Diversification

The dramatic turn from "It's video or nothing!" to "Tread lightly!" can be confusing for a publisher, brand, or new media company still trying to figure out where their content fits in the social ecosystem. If anything, the winding road of social video content reinforces the importance of diversification — no matter the content, no matter the strategy.

The ticket to diversification is investing in good writers and content creators that understand how content travels across platforms, so they can cater their craft to what works best for each outlet. This may or may not be video. Once you have the right people in place, conversation-starting content can then be used to create multiple streams of social revenue that satisfy each platform.

Continuing to experiment with video is important for any publisher with the resources available to create dynamic, visual storytelling. But it's just as important to test the content's true value across each platform to see if it's a lucrative strategy for long-term revenue growth and audience building.

Let Us Keep Track of the Next Pendulum Swing

At RebelMouse, we offer lean tech that allows you to save costs on expensive dev teams, so you can instead focus on experimenting with new revenue streams. Our product is built by growth experts who also can help you with your video content strategy, even without buying our product. We keep up with platform changes and pendulum swings so you can focus on content creation. Let's create something together.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

Keep reading... Show less

Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

Keep reading... Show less

Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

Keep reading... Show less

Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing e-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

Keep reading... Show less

Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Keep reading... Show less

Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

Keep reading... Show less

Making Sense of PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals

Page speed and Core Web Vitals are an important piece of the SEO puzzle. Having a quick load time and passing Core Web Vitals are important factors in Google's search ranking and results. But there are multiple ways of testing your speed and vitals, and it can get very confusing to try and understand the results since different measuring tools can result in different scores.

Keep reading... Show less

Reach New Revenue Heights With RebelMouse’s Boost Spot Placement

Authentic sponsored content piques user interest and yields high rewards

Monetization has to be multifaceted. Publishers must deliver a site experience that makes the user a top priority without sacrificing the ability to generate ad revenue. After all, readers are no longer going to put up with irritating ad experiences that slow down their consumption of content. And since publishers can't rely on a few viral moments to make ends meet, successful ad campaigns must feel genuine and produce consistent returns to be effective.

The need for smart, sticky monetization methods is nothing new, but publishers and marketers alike are starting to perfect the modern ad experience better than ever before. This success is due in part to the increased use of sponsored content.

Sponsored content is the creation of content for a brand by a publisher — whether it's an article, video, listicle, or any other dynamic media — that is paid for by the brand. But here's the key: Sponsored content, when done correctly, is a valuable content experience that retains the same voice and integrity of the brand that's sponsoring the placement. This seamless integration into the natural flow of content that the publisher normally creates makes it one of the most effective ways to build site revenue. In fact, 80% of readers believe authentic content is the main factor that will drive them to follow or engage with a brand.

Keep reading... Show less

RebelMouse Q2 2021 Platform Performance Updates

Q2 of 2021 was a big quarter for the open web. Google delayed their release of SEO ranking by CrUX report, and they changed their method for Lighthouse scoring drastically. Our team was a few steps ahead of these changes, and we were able to update our platform so sites in our network had little, if any, performance interruptions.

We invested over 1,592 hours into our platform in Q2 2021 alone, and all of the sites on our platform received the benefits of these updates. To break it down into large buckets, we invested in the following key areas:

  • 538 hours dedicated to new features
  • 725 hours dedicated to improving existing features
  • 329 hours dedicated to performance and infrastructure updates

Here are the major updates that we've added to the RebelMouse platform in Q2.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Use the Pagination Element

You can add pagination to section, tag, and archive pages using RebelMouse's Layout & Design Tool. This can be done through our Pagination element:

Using the Properties card, there are three options that you can configure on the Pagination element:

Keep reading... Show less
Subscribe to Our Newsletter