Audience Engagement Guest Columns
5 mins read

As content consumption continues to diversify, user-generated video is the greatest growth hack for publishers

The ‘pivot’ to video looks set to be a major trend this year. Even Facebook has re-ignited its own ‘pivot’ as it addresses what Zuckerberg described as the “unprecedented level of competition” in the short-form video business, and the impact this has had on its revenue in 2021. 

As content consumption continues to diversify across platforms, publishers too continue with the perpetual challenges of how to attract eyeballs and attention spans and grow both advertising and subscription revenues. They are also, of course, having to keep pace with the growing power of the creator economy, and its endless ability to churn out content that’s ever-more immersive and engaging.

UPSO Media—the giant behind wildly popular social publisher Upsocl, as well as 120 other channels across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok—has over 100 million followers across 70 countries, and publishes over 7,000 videos per month. With the strapline ‘always creating’, it’s an expert in engaging audiences and brands alike with interesting, creative, and effective content – sharing with the world things that are important, things that inspire and intrigue, and things that just simply must be seen.

Newsflare spoke to José Pablo Harz, Editorial Director at UPSO Media, to learn more about their video strategy, and why user-generated video is a growth hack worth investing in this year. Here are his top tips for publishers looking to pivot to using UGV.

Make every video count – how originality drives retention, shares, and likes

Working with a UGV partner that can provide a huge volume of video content is of vital importance to growing audiences quickly. However, simply publishing huge amounts of video is no longer enough. 

Publishers must seek originality at every turn. That could be jumping on opportunities to capture the moment first or getting their hands on that next big trending clip before anyone else. But the most successful strategy is making sure every video counts.

80% of visits to UPSO Media’s channels come from recommendations and shares, so when building a video strategy driving retention must be a key consideration. Every video post needs to tell a story, whether that’s eyewitness video highlighting moments of change, tragedy or triumph, entertainment and celebrity stories, or trending clips. 

UPSO Media takes each video it receives from Newsflare, finds a unique angle, and builds a story around it. Not only does that ensure they meet originality expectations and platform requirements (José highlighted that responding to Facebook’s changes are a big challenge for publishers), but it also means they can increase viewer retention. 

Taking a 1-minute clip and building it out into a 3-minute story (the optimal video post length based on UPSO Media’s experience) by combining it with a script, has driven both retention, shares, and recommendations, especially on Facebook. 40% of UPSO Media’s video views are over 1 minute, with a baseline level of retention of 45 seconds or more.  

Don’t be afraid to experiment and keep innovating – UGV makes this easy

There is so much to share with the world that one channel would never be enough, that is why UPSO Media has made so many, and keeps on looking for opportunities to make more. 

José explained that if publishers remain static on social media, they can easily disappear in the current market. It’s vital that publishers always keep responsive to audience preferences. UPSO Media constantly harnesses audience data (both its own and the insights provided by Newsflare) to understand what content is working best and what is trending. They then quickly spin up a new channel in response, or indeed take down channels that are not performing as well as they once did.

The vast quantity and variety of UGV, coupled with the constant availability of new video, offers the opportunity for publishers to get creative, experiment with different formats, engage new audiences, and work out what resonates best with audiences on each platform. 

Curation is as important as creation when it comes to building a connection with audiences

Publishers have always acted as trusted curators for highly targeted audiences, and this remains true when building a video strategy. When it comes to keeping eyeballs for longer and building a stronger audience connection, it’s all about interest through intelligent curation.

It’s no coincidence that the publishers who are seeing growth in subscriptions have developed the strongest understanding of their audiences, and curated content to feed that. 

Again, the sheer volume and diversity of UGV makes the challenge of curation far easier to tackle for UPSO Media. Building thematic video collections that deliver diversified experiences captures audience attention, piques their interest, beats the scroll, boosts engagement, and keeps them binge-watching on one stream for longer. 

Upsocl alone has generated 40 million Facebook interactions and has grown a loyal base of 80 million followers by curating inspiring, informative, and entertaining video-led experiences. 

For UPSO Media, as for all publishers, the trust element remains important when using UGV content. It also remains a huge challenge. Today, many publishers are still reluctant to use UGV, probably due to their concern over rights issues. UPSO Media overcomes this by working with a UGV partner. 

UPSO Media publishes 7,000 videos every month and their audiences across all 120+ channels have total confidence in the authenticity of every clip and that what they are seeing is the real thing.  

Newsflare’s Trust Algorithm assists this by ensuring that the video content UPSO Media capture and share from its filmers is reliable and 100% rights cleared. 

The growing popularity of user-generated video on social platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube and Facebook Watch has prompted a greater number of publishers to beef up their video offering. And it’s anticipated that video will drive 65% of digital publishing in 2022. UPSO Media is already ahead of the curve. 

‘A place to be inspired’, UPSO Media harness and optimise huge amounts of UGV. In return, UGV is helping deliver 50 million views every day and guaranteeing that they always have something to show their audiences to keep them from scrolling onto other publishers.

Daniel Braybrook
Head of Editorial Licensing UK ROW at Newsflare

Newsflare is a leading licensing platform and marketplace for user-generated video (UGV).  In January 2022 it announced that it had become a Series B organization after attracting £5 million in new venture capital funding.  It then unveiled its energized rebrand and revitalized market positioning.  Inviting storytellers everywhere to ‘capture the moment’ as it stakes its claim as the category leader for the monetization of premium UGV. 

Originally from an editorial background, Daniel Braybrook has 18 years’ experience leading business development and content strategies for licensing digital properties across global platforms. He joined Newsflare in 2020 and is passionate about creating narratives with engaging UGV content and driving change for publishers.