Storytelling And Research: Fumbling Around In The Dark

How often does the word “storytelling” feature on MediaPost? Pretty much almost daily, I think.

The Instagram Stories feed at the top of your Instagram app is one place where storytelling content can be found, as well as on the My Story feature from Snapchat. There are now lots of people cobbling together short bursts of photos, gifs and video to share with their fans that they went to Coachella this past weekend.

And then there is Facebook Live. I was at Walmart on Saturday, where the Easter Bunny was walking the aisles, handing out free chocolate eggs for the kids. There was also a guy who immediately created a Facebook Live feed from Aisle 9, shouting to his camera phone, “As you know, we like to go live wherever we go, so we are here with the Easter Bunny.”

I’m sure his three followers were extremely excited to see him completely ignore the children while monopolizing the poor Easter Bunny. Perhaps I am unfair to the Facebook Live guy in Aisle 9 (could have been 8). Perhaps he had 10 viewers. Or a 100,000.



I’m sure you know advertising content is emerging in these feeds and stories as well. Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook — they are all rallying to bring advertising… er, storytelling content, to these new platforms, to, you know… monetize them.

Last week there was a heated debate on the future fate of TV, with one side lamenting the imminent death of television due to FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix,  Google/YouTube), versus another celebrating “long will TV live” in opposition.

FANG certainly delivers a very real and powerful set of platforms that in our household competes with “real” TV.

And I think it’s fair to say that consumers have embraced the new “stories” platforms to express themselves to their friends, family members or hundreds of thousands of followers. I’m just not sure consumers appreciate or watch those same platforms with the same level of interest when the story comes from Gatorade, Mastercard or Ford.

And why am I not sure? Because we have no standardized, publicly available data.

With “real TV,” at least we kind of know what we are getting. We know that the ratings for traditional live network and cable TV have been steadily trending down and skewing older. We know that some shows are doing great, and others are tanking. We know the ups and the downs of networks, programs, program categories and more, because… we have ratings.

Sure, we no longer have one gold standard rating, because Nielsen and comScore are competing on that front. But that is only mildly confusing when compared to FANG, where we have pretty much no idea how many people watch anything. And so we don’t really know the things a TV planner knows: how to build an effective delivery schedule. What is hot and what is not is still measured in “likes” and “views,” but with no ability to plan and measure across platforms, content, audiences, etc.

Storytelling efforts? Sure! But if I tell a story, I want to know how to effectively reach my audience. In that respect, FANG is still rather toothless.

Next story loading loading..