Fast Forward: Why Video is Vital with Hearst UK



At SMW London, Executive Director of Digital Strategy at Hearst UK, Betsy Fast offered an insight into how quickly the digital world is evolving and shared her top tips.

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Be it casseroles or cocktails, gadgets or gore, there’s no denying that visual content is a quick, effective and impactful way to educate and inspire. The UK’s infatuation and demand for video it is reflected in the production growth of it at Hearst UK. Within the past year, a concerted amount of effort has shifted onto video and the company averaged 7 million monthly videos on site. Their team grew and continues to do so.

Betsy Fast graced the stage at Social Media Week London 2018 and mapped out the essential components and considerations for a production pie.


When creating video, it’s vital to put platform first. Consider where it will be mainly distributed in order to decide it’s content, as well as stylistic elements such as length.

Fast stressed how important it is to remain faithful to your brand and, subsequently, your audience. Hearst UK owns 14 titles including Cosmopolitan UK, Esquire, Good Housekeeping and Country Living, all of which have entirely different demographics.

Cosmopolitan UK zoomed in on creating Love Island content this year: it produced 420 organic articles and its videos received over 12 million views.


Storytelling will always be at the heart of what makes a successful video. Fast gave examples of how at Hearst UK, videographers and teams are sent to a location to document the stories of others. Men’s Health, another child of Hearst UK’s, featured a film on the steroid epidemic that accumulated 1.2 million views online, and Cosmopolitan UK ran a video informing women how to check their breasts for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Fast urged to tell the lesser known, niche stories that select audiences are interested in on a brand by brand basis, in order to rack up views.


The longer audiences watch, the more opportunity there is to earn revenue. Fast noted how “if no one watches beyond 30 seconds, then you can’t optimize [the video] for mid-roll; for ads.” Growth on-site matters and so does revenue as a publication is a business.

It’s important to capture attention spans quickly, particularly when they’re much shorter nowadays.

Where do we go from here then?

One thing’s for certain: creating social first video content will massively increase and maintain high engagement levels. Fast advised to keep it fun, original, authentic and work around series based content. Splitting responsibilities helps execute both social and brand building videos perfectly, and that’s exactly what she and her team plan on continuing to do.

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