To eliminate some of the guesswork from its social media campaigns, Viacom has turned to machines.
Over the past year, a seven-person data science team in Viacom’s ad sales group has been building a pipeline to collect near-real time information about how its social media posts perform. This way, the entertainment giant can predict how many social posts it will need to reach audience goals and what kinds of posts to use in each campaign.
Using the product, Viacom set performance benchmarks for different kinds of social media posts by platform and all its brands, which include Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central. Viacom evaluates everything from branded content campaigns to posts designed to drive tune-ins to tentpole shows like MTV’s Video Music Awards with the benchmarks. The data pipeline, which pulls information from social platforms sometimes as frequently as every five minutes, is also designed to give Viacom’s departments easy access to the data.
“We see a lot of inefficiencies in the way things are done,” said Matthew Moocarme, a senior data scientist for Viacom, who gave a presentation on the effort at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience x Science event on June 12. “Right now, the goal of this is to report back on how well we’ve performed [on social].”
Viacom operates social handles for everything from its channels to its shows to the individual characters in them, like SpongeBob SquarePants. It runs over 400 YouTube channels, 430 Facebook pages, 60 Instagram handles and 100 Twitter handles. Viacom publishes hundreds of times per day on each platform, except for YouTube.
Viacom uses the posts for a variety of purposes, including driving traffic to its websites, social impressions for advertisers and awareness of its own programming. Internal brand marketing agency Viacom Velocity markets the content Viacom’s brands produce, and social media platforms are a key distribution channel.