"Don’t State The Obvious" – How ATTN: Reach Their Audience

January 24, 2017

Written by NewsWhip

We interview ATTN’s Head of Audience about how they reach their audience through native content, and how they measure its impact. 

ATTN is an ‘issues-driven media company’, targeting a young audience on social media. If you’ve heard the name, it’s likely you’ve come across one of their wildly successful Facebook native videos, which have racked up million of views.

In December, we named ATTN as one of the best new publishers on social media in 2016.

We talked to ATTN’s Head of Audience, Martha Pierce, about how they’re reaching audiences natively in 2017.

Can you explain the target audience of ATTN, and your role as Head of Audience?

ATTN: is for anyone who is looking for issues-driven coverage and consumes a lot of their news and content on social platforms; which, increasingly, people do. My role as Head of Audience is dynamic, always changing, and involves working alongside incredibly talented content creators and producers, which always makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning. I oversee our social publishing teams for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter, as well as our insights team.

When we’re successful, my mom in Illinois can watch and share our content as readily as a friend in New York — and our audience ranges based on the topics we cover.

What does the creation cycle of an ATTN video look like, from conception to distribution?

Nine times out of ten, our best ideas come from unconventional places, so we make it a company priority to give anyone and everyone, whether it’s an intern from our social team or one of our our Co-founders, the opportunity to pitch the editorial team ideas. But generally, the editorial team’s process goes something like this: brainstorm, assign, research, execute. We often go through multiple rounds of revisions and testing to ensure our final product is as polished and shareable as possible.

Our company is also our audience: we closely survey our team members before a video publishes to understand where their attention span trails off, and make tweaks accordingly.

What are the advantages in distributing your videos natively through Facebook? Are you seeing success with any other platforms?

ATTN: first set out to reach audiences where they live and spend time. The foundation of our audience team is to build and engage audiences on the platforms where users are already active. Facebook is where more people spend more time consuming content than any other platform, which is why we approached creating video there first.


In 2017, we’re also reaching beyond Facebook and seeing early success with distributing our content on Snapchat and on Instagram, even via podcasts, which we launched recently on iTunes and SoundCloud, and on YouTube (one of our most recent videos featuring Bill Maher has over 4 million views). We approach each platform uniquely in thinking about what audiences want to consume there and program with that mindset.

What metrics are you particularly interested in when measuring the success of your videos?

We pay attention to views, but we’re obsessed with engagement. For instance, we track shares, reactions, comments and tags. We’re also closely monitoring retention time on videos to understand optimal engagement.

What advice would you give to other social publishers looking to grow their audience using native content?

  1. Get creative in terms of your angle for content and don’t state the obvious. 
  2. Be self-reflective, and use metrics to understand what your audiences actually want to read or consume — then program for that.
  3. Your audience will tell you what they want to consume by showing you what they care about.

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