Digital Publishing Platforms
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Over 600% growth in video views: Inside Bloomberg’s Instagram strategy

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Bloomberg’s Instagram account Bloomberg Business (@bloombergbusiness) achieved significant growth in audience and video views in 2018. It saw a 391% increase in followers and 617% rise in video views last year.

While Bloomberg Business has less number of followers (800,000) compared to competitors like The Economist (3 million) and the Financial Times (1.3 million) it has consistently been getting more video views than them.

For example, Tubular Labs’ research shows, that Bloomberg got more monthly views on Instagram between November 2018 and Jan 2019 compared to The Economist and the FT during the same period. Figures for January 2019 stand at Bloomberg (2M), The Economist (1.3M) and the FT (4,019).

In a recent interview with Facebook, Bloomberg’s Senior Social Editor Kevin Young spoke about how the publisher works with Instagram. We share some of the insights below.

“You don’t have to have an MBA”

Bloomberg closely monitors analytics to understand its audience’s likes and dislikes. Once they have selected the topics, they present the news in simple language avoiding excessive jargon.

“We consider @bloombergbusiness to be the home of business news on Instagram, but you don’t have to have an MBA or an investment portfolio to understand what we’re describing,” says Young. Bloomberg also promotes its best articles through Instagram Stories.

Young credits videos as being integral to their success but adds, “our growth really exploded when we began posting more graphics.” The publisher presents business news to its audiences through clear, concise data visualizations and maps.

They (Bloomberg) are very upfront about what a post delivers on a factual basis. It’s popular because of the validity and depth of the stats they share in an era where audiences have less trust for thought pieces and clickbait headlines.

J. Meadows, Managing Partner at Commit (digital agency) to Digiday

Cherry picking topics that resonate with the audience

Bloomberg uses videos to explain the stories behind the headlines. It has seen high viewership numbers for minute-long digests of topical issues, according to Young. The publisher runs feature based content during weekends when the audience has more time to watch.

The ten most popular articles of the week are also presented for the Instagram audience during weekends. According to Young, these stories have an average click-through rate of 25%. “We developed an Instagram template for these clips – to ensure that they were uniform in style and appearance – and were careful to cherry-pick the topics that we thought would resonate most with our audience,” says Young.

The publisher also posts inspirational quotes and stories about business leaders like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Jack Ma which appeal to its young and aspirational audience. It uses polls to produce simple quizzes where followers are encouraged to swipe through to the website for the answers.

Young’s concluding thoughts, “We’ve found that the key to success on Instagram is to be yourself and develop your own voice.”

“When it works, it works really well”

Instagram crossed one billion monthly active users in June 2018 and according to Statista, around 33% of its users are between 25-34 years old. This makes the social media platform an important place to be on for publishers. According to data, Instagram referral traffic grew 4% in 2018.

According to Meadows, “As a strategy, being on Instagram is imperative; it’s where the most interest in publications sit. If you want to recruit a younger, wider, broader audience, Instagram is a must.”

Kelsey Arendt, a Customer Success Manager at writing in her post Predicting sources of traffic to content in 2019, states, “When it (Instagram) works, it works really well.”

She adds, “I know many newsrooms who have experimented with a niche audience on IG and succeeded. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if this is a platform that requires a bit more audience engagement efforts. And for that reason, it is the platform I’m most excited about to look at specific audiences and content for.”