The way the public consumes its news in today’s world is continuously evolving, and short-form video platforms are largely responsible for the change in news consumption habits. Publishers are beginning to understand the benefits of having a presence on TikTok and Instagram Reels, and there are a few that are leading the way with this style of reporting.
In our recent report, we spotlighted a few of the biggest mainstream news publishers in order to understand if their short-form video content is making as big of an impact — in terms of engagement — as their web articles do. We thought it would be wise to widen our analysis and include a couple more publishers who also deserve a spot among the mix, as it may surprise you as to who is seeing success.
In order to keep our time period consistent, we’ll take a look at each publisher and their top posts during the month of September.
As a major source of news around the world — and among the most trusted — BBC News is a dominant force on social media. In the last few years it has worked hard to become the biggest publisher account on Instagram, and because it directed most of its attention to Instagram, it was actually late to the TikTok party — but not anymore.
Reels and TikTok have become a major part of the BBC’s social strategy, and its videos are earning significantly more engagement than the other types of social posts it produces. Both platforms see a similar amount of engagement as well, and in September the top 10 TikToks and the top nine Reels were all well over 100k engagements.
The Financial Times
The FT might not immediately come to mind when you think about what publishers are actively reporting on social media, and it’s true that the outlet doesn’t receive the highest engagement to its articles on Facebook or Twitter like some competitors do. What’s interesting about FT though is its use of Instagram Reels, and the attention it gets from them.
Its most engaged Reel was about the former president of Brazil, which earned over 7.4k engagements. While that’s lower than some of the other publishers we looked at, for the FT it’s quite an achievement when compared to its top Tweet and top Facebook post, which totaled 2.2k and 904 engagements respectively.
The Daily Mail
The popular English website has also been leveraging the power of short-form video content with its audience, and what is especially notable is how much more engagement it receives to its TikTok videos than it does with Instagram Reels.
Its top TikTok in September was about the death of Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell, which received nearly 4 million engagements. And that wasn’t just an exception, as the top three TikToks for Daily Mail during that time all saw over 1 million engagements, with several others not far behind.
This could be due to the publisher having over 4x the amount of followers on TikTok as it does on Instagram, or the fact that its TikTok content doesn’t appear to be repurposed on Reels, rather that Reels focuses on different topics. Either way, the Daily Mail is leading the way for many publishers trying their hand at short-form video content.
The New York Times
@nytimes A 120-year-old water main in Times Square burst early Tuesday morning, sending an estimated 1.8 million gallons of water flooding into the subway system and upending the morning commute. An estimated 300,000 people had their morning commute affected by subsequent disruptions to the 1, 2 and 3 lines. By late morning, trains on those lines were running with delays in both directions. #newyorkcity #timesquare #flood #mta ♬ original sound - The New York Times
As one of the biggest mainstream news outlets in the world, the New York Times has a strong presence across all social media channels, and has really taken advantage of its 17 million followers on Instagram by putting a large focus on Reels.
The top videos on Reels also look a bit different than what is performing well on TikTok. In September, the NYT had three Reels with over 100k engagements, including one about a shot-gun riding steer, one about the Nebraska women’s volleyball team, and one about the Perelman Performing Arts Center at ground zero in New York.
On TikTok, the top video was of an old water main busting in Times Square, followed by one of Canada’s prime ministers.
Finally, we looked at the Economist, a publisher that is seeing similar success to its TikTok and Reels, largely from focusing on cultural topics rather than hard news.
The top TikTok for the Economist in September was about how other languages apart from English can accommodate non-binary people, as some languages sort out nouns into masculine and feminine categories. This video earned nearly 46k engagements and was the publisher’s top piece of content for the whole month. On Reels, the top post featured Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens, as he discussed his thoughts on AI.
This is just a glimpse at some of the ways publishers are utilizing short-form video, and as this continues to become part of their wider social media strategy, we’ll keep checking in on who joins the pack and who is standing out.
If you’d like to learn more about how to monitor publishers across all social media platforms, chat with a member of our team today.