Analytics firm Parse.ly finds that user engagement for posts with short video is significantly less than short-form posts, slideshows and long-form posts.

Why?

  1. Auto-play: Visitors are silencing or pausing videos because of the disruption
  2. Slow load times: Videos take longer to load, causing viewers to bounce
  3. Market saturation: Publishers are scrambling to create more pre-roll inventory

Digiday spoke with several publishers who echoed Parse.ly's findings, saying that short-form video views on Facebook have been cut in half, likely due to the fact that video is becoming cheaper to produce.

Smart take: The drive to create scalable video stems from business needs, not reader demand. Publishers can place high premiums on pre-roll ads because they sell out so quickly, particular among larger brands. The New York Times, for example, won't even offer advertisers the ability to geo-target pre-roll because it sells out so quickly at the national level, usually by the end of the summer.

What's next: Publishers will invest in alternative post formats.

  1. Live video: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, AOL and Instagram have all rolled out live video platforms in the past year. Facebook even recommends that users of their live platform run videos for at least ten minutes, in order to be algorithmically favored.
  2. Long-form posts: A 2016 Pew study found that while long-form and short-form posts have similar reach, users engage with long-form content more than twice as much as short-form posts.
  3. Slide shows: The Parse.ly study says slideshows are a cost-effective alternative to video. This is especially true for retail and fashion advertisers looking to display different attributes of products. Case-in-point: Parse.ly tells Axios that this Vogue Magazine slideshow of celebrities' outfits at the Met Gala last year was one of the most trafficked pieces of content on the internet in 2016.

Go deeper

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to life in prison

Carts full of court documents related to the U.S. v. Keith Raniere case arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday in federal court for sex trafficking among other crimes, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: Raniere was convicted last summer with sex trafficking, conspiracy, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, forced labor and possession of child pornography. His so-called self-improvement workshops, which disguised rampant sexual abuse, were popular among Hollywood and business circles.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Americans are moving again

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For decades, the share of Americans moving to new cities has been falling. The pandemic-induced rise of telework is turning that trend around.

Why it matters: This dispersion of people from big metros to smaller ones and from the coasts to the middle of the country could be a boon for dozens of left-behind cities across the U.S.

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