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July 6, 2016, 12:54 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Taylyn Washington-Harmon   |   July 6, 2016

As media companies look for ways to make audio go viral, The Economist is joining other publishers in trying its hand at audiograms — video clips rendered from its podcasts in order to be shareable, bite-sized versions of the full-length content. This week, social media writer Jenni Reid shared some of the publication’s findings from its experiments:

Whether or not video is the next big thing, it’s working for now. We decided to take advantage of this by making short clips of our podcasts in combination with a still image and a compelling quote. These are posted to Facebook as videos (we call them audiograms) and we’ve been encouraged by how they fly…

[I]f there’s one thing that verges on a safe bet it’s ‘Game of Thrones.’ Our other social posts promoting articles on the economics and politics of Westeros have been among our most popular of the year, and our audiogram for a podcast on the topic also performed above average for a social post.

The Economist’s most popular audiogram so far, based on reach, engagement, and overall audio plays, was from an interview with editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, featuring her stance on Brexit. “Given that our social feeds had been so filled with Brexit articles, this audiogram gave our followers something a little different: the opportunity to stop and listen to our elevator pitch on why we supported Remain, without having to leave Facebook,” Reid wrote.

the-economist-audiogram-zanny

Reid also suspects that image and quote quality affect the success of the audiogram. “A user may share the post based on the image and quote without even having heard the clip. That is clearly possible with the audiograms on Trump, ‘Game of Thrones,’ and Zanny [Minton Beddoes]’s comments on Brexit.”

WNYC and NPR have both dabbled in the world of audiograms, acknowledging that many social users tend to spend no longer than a couple of minutes on clips in their social feeds. Both have found success with quick turnarounds, interviews with high-interest individuals, and breaking news.

Reid encouraged Economist readers to provide feedback on what works with audiograms, and to reference how other publishers are successfully bringing attention to their podcast base in a volatile social media world with ever-changing algorithms: “Now we’ve got some early signs, it will be interesting to see how we can develop this concept further.”

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