How Data Informs Creative Teams in the Facebook Video Era



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Maia McCann, Editor-In-Chief of LittleThings, sat down with Social Media Week Chicago to share how LittleThings has achieved success by using data to inform the video production process, from conception to completion.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events, presentations, and interviews, sign up for SMW Insider.

LittleThings’ meteoric growth is a result of their “art and science” approach to content creation paired with their proprietary testing algorithm. Based on their results from content testing, here’s LittleThings tips and tricks to engineering high performing content.

Engineer content that is not entirely intuitive to production teams

According to McCann, people are trained to creating content according to the story arch (exposition, rising action, and climax). That, however, does not apply to creating video for social. “In the first one and a half seconds, you need to get to the heart of the matter. We’ve tested this across the board and found that for recipe and DIY content, this applied with every video. Once you see a result across 80-90% of your content, you know that it’s a rule and don’t have to waste money on testing it anymore.”

Optimize based on format

LittleThings edits their video based on the type of platform and format they’re choosing to push content out on. “People are viewing Facebook native with their sound off, so you have to think like Charlie Chaplin and start putting things with captions. Your production team can’t write your captions, it has to be your writing team.”

As for Facebook live, McCann discusses ambient viewing and engaged viewing. “With ambient viewing, we put this dog in teeny tiny pajamas and all he does is go to sleep and roll around. Ambient viewing videos do the best when they seem somewhat voyeuristic. You’re just encountering this puppy on the news feed.

With engaged viewing, our editor squeezed himself into a human sized balloon and people waited to see how long it would take to pop. We had people engaged for a really long time, especially towards the end. Both of those videos had over 500,000 viewers.”

Pivot quickly

Due to Facebook’s changing algorithm, brands are required to pivot really quickly, all the time. What can you do to pivot quickly?

McCann advises brands to have their social team sit with the editorial and production team in order to explain data to them in a way that makes sense.

What’s the next step in video content?

According to McCann, the challenges on the horizon in terms of video is to “get people to tune into your channel. Not just encounter you on your newsfeed.” McCann also urges brands to think of how they’re different from the noise.

“There’s a lot of the same content out there. How can you differentiate yourself? How can you be different and an alternative source of energy?”

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