Storyful is a social marketing and news company that’s trying to make sense of social media for publishers, marketers, and communications teams. A unit of media giant News Corp., it analyzes data from platforms like Facebook YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and Weibo to find the most important trends and “news” in real time. It works with newsrooms, brands, and agencies to create real-time marketing campaigns, and to license relevant user-generated video.
One campaign by Storyful was for Turkish Airlines, a Euro Cup sponsor. By creating a social newsroom for the brand, Storyful was able to recreate the experience of actually being at the matches. The agency team posted 15 user-generated stories to Facebook and Twitter, in addition to scheduled branded content in two weeks. The user-generated stories saw more than 600,000 organic video views on Facebook and Twitter, delivered over 15,000 organic engagements, and 2,000 organic shares, according to Michael Hess, global head of marketing for Storyful.Hess said the firm tries to “pan for gold” by producing millions of data points a day that offer indicators informing the type of content brands need. The content is vetted for brand safety, a particularly thorny issue for user-generated content. The overall goal is to boost consumer engagement on social platforms via social video during live events.
Storyful also worked with Coca-Cola during the Olympic Games in Rio to help the brand engage in timely conversations in Australia via #ThatsGold. Within a two-week period, Storyful identified 35 #ThatsGold moments that brought the brand’s campaign message to life using real stories. Coke received more than 1.5 million views of four videos on Facebook and 12,000 organic engagements with the video. The campaign represented a 200% increase in engagement with video vs. non-user-generated content posted during the same time period.
How does real-time marketing tie in? “We’re always on and helping to break news and finding viral video,” Hess said. Brands’ business objectives involve both ROI from social media, increasing video views, and engagement on platforms like Facebook. It’s mostly top-of-funnel work by building advocacy and generating new audiences.
As for the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Storyful is working on those fronts right now. “If you think about real-time executions, the dirty secret is it takes a lot of people to product content. The question is ,how do we use these things to help brands make smarter decisions using less people? How do they use data to make informed decisions?” Hess said.
Storyful is working on a new tool to marry specific individuals’ sentiments toward a brand and creating relevant content around those sentiments. It will use machine learning to shape data that it serves to people. But what about editorial judgement from real human beings? “From our point of view, you cannot separate the editorial judgement from the technology and the technology needs to serve the editorial judgement,” Hess said. Storyful, he said, started with a newsroom mindset and “all the rigor that goes along with reporting on news. We’ve tried to take a lot of cues from storytellers. What do audiences care about, how do they use social content to tell those stories?” Hess said.