Social media audit and competitor analysis
By Paulius Bakaitis
Lecturer: Prof Dr Ana Adi
For this audit I chose a Youtube channel Vsauce. Initially created by Michael Stevens, now there are branching channels like Vsauce2, Vsauce3, Wesauce (community), etc. with different personas. The channels feature videos relating to various scientific and philosophical topics, as well as gaming, technology, culture, and other topics of general interest. As for this Audit the main focus is on their first channel – Vsauce.
I find this kind of online educational videos extremely interesting as they provide a way of learning by making it vivid, perfectly explained and engaging with a slice of humor. Putting scientific terms, researches and theoretical knowledge in an explainable way is not easy, but they succeed at it, and people love them. Also they like to answer extremely curious questions such as “What if the sun disappeared?” or ““What if Everyone Jumped at Once?“
Analysing such persona provides a great challenge as there is little information and sources about social media efforts of simple content creators (unlike huge companies) so probably there will not be many sources (if at all) used in this research that are specifically about these Youtube channels.
As for target audience, Vsauce aims at people who at least know some form of basic science, as science topics are the most popular in the channel, of course the audience can be absolutely anyone with an interest in a provided topic, however, pre-teenage year children might find some topics unfathomable and advanced use of English generally means that to understand a video fully a person should be at least 13+ years old. Also considering that this is not a company that gets money out of sales, the goal is simple – the more views, the better so the content is simplified and as much approachable as possible to anyone.
Youtube (and G+):
Vsauce 1 – 24 June 2010
Vsauce 2 – 7 December 2010
Vsauce 3 – 24 December 2010
WeSauce – 25 July 2012
DONG (Do Things Online Now, Guys) – 29 October 2015
Facebook: Vsauce, Vsauce2, Vasauce3
Twitter: Vsauce @tweetsauce Vsauce3 @VsauceThree Vsauce2 @VsauceTwo
Instagram (personal but popular) – electricpants
And of course their website http://Vsauce.com
Their main activity is providing informative videos on Youtube and other type of social media is used for day-to-day sharing, photos, activities or sometimes hints and ideas for their next videos. Being popular they tend to meet other internet or celebrities in general in an event, gathering or simple meeting and post about it thus mutually benefiting all celebrities involved.
Considering that this is not a firm, a company, competitors are quite different in a sense that there are only people that do similar things and are also popular. I decided to look at those.
The main competitor (or one of them, as there are many)I believe is a Youtube channel – Smarter Every Day. They also provide science videos about pretty much anything, however the main difference is the practical approach whereas Vsauce mostly only conducts research. The target audience is mostly the same, but considering that videos are a bit more simplified and approachable to a person with a lesser knowledge of science means a slightly greater possible reach.
Channels used by Smarter Every Day: Youtube, Tumblr, Facebook, Patreon, Instagram, Twitter, G+ and secondary SmarterEveryDay2 Youtube channel.
Just like Vsauce, videos are their main thing however other platforms are often used to ask questions from their fans and opinions as well as photos, casual sharing, personal opinions, segments of video being produced or frankly anything that pops in their mind.
- Social media analysis
I chose to analyse 2 platforms – Facebook and Twitter of both content creators also I will provide basic information from their Youtube channels for comparison with other platforms (since it is their base of operation).
Smarter Every Day – 3,558,773 subscribers • 252,595,701 total views
Vsauce (the main one) – 9,832,142 subscribers • 934,622,695 total views
To check how healthy is Vsauce’s Facebook page I have chosen LikeAlyzer as my tool as it gives in depth information about the page and its activity as well as I have made some remarks on my own.
The tool has provided information that the Facebook activity for Vsauce is fairly poor.
- Total likes – 480 000
- Engagement rate is extremely poor, a mere 0,3 % (The Engagement Rate is calculated by taking the total PTAT (people talking about this) and divide by the total number of likes
- The type of posts that Vsauce is putting out is basically their videos or something that is already on other social media platform posted by themselves.
- They barely post 0.27 times per week. This is really a problem as one might suggest to even post daily.
- There is only one-way communication from fans to Vsauce or communication between fans themselves on the page, nothing is responded by the author.
- Vsauce asks no questions from their Facebook fans.
It would seem that Vsauce does not particularly care about activity on Facebook, however, if we take a look at Smarter Every Day, results are quite different.
- Total likes – 1.1 million
- Posts per day are 1.31
- Engagement rate is 3.1% (far from perfect but an obvious improvement in comparison)
- On the page, authors are asking questions, keeping the audience updated with the latest activity, posting pictures, etc.
- Overall, Smarter Every Day seems to be caring more about their activity on Facebook than Vsauce.
On a side note both of the parties did not particularly care about the timing of their posts as they are not on the usual best time of publishing.
Situation of Twitter between these content creators compared to Facebook is like night and day. Vsauce has 599 000 followers on twitter whereas Smarter Every Day only has 94 200. In contrary to Facebook situation it appears like more of a scenario where Youtube subscriber count and Twitter follower count is more of a match.
It would seem that trends change significantly depending on the platform used. This is mostly due to different focus of both channels.
- Vsauce in contrary to Facebook post original posts of their activity, ask questions, interact with the audience. In fact, this seem to be their main platform of interaction with their fans. But only one platform is hardly ever enough for everything, or is it?
- As for Smarter Every Day, they excel in distinguishing content between platforms, unlike Vsauce and their relatively good standing in Twitter is an example.
- According to Foller.me (Twitter analysis tool) Vsauce per 100 tweets:
- Replies : 32/100
- Tweets with @mentions: 71/100
- Tweets with #hashtags: 14/100
- Retweets: 30/100 were retweets by @tweetsauce
- Tweets with links: 45/100
- Tweets with media: 29/100
- And for Smarter Every Day per 100 tweets:
- Replies : 34/100
- Tweets with @mentions: 66/100
- Tweets with #hashtags: 13/100
- Retweets: 20/100 were retweets by @smartereveryday
- Tweets with links: 45/100
- Tweets with media: 25/100
Considering Twitter, both parties seem to be doing pretty well and have similar scores and posts similarly good. Constant interaction with followers, retweets and mentions seems to be present on both accounts. However, given the edge in subscribers on Youtube, Vsauce takes the cake with followers even though he posts less.
- Recommendations for Vsauce
- Obviously post more on Facebook since this platform should not be ignored. A great amount of potential new viewers or subscribers are lost due to inactivity in nowadays considered the most important (and/or popular) social media platform.
- Make Facebook posts somewhat different, original. For example twitter should be used for quick communication, updates and activities and Facebook for pictures, long posts, extended opinions. Smarter Every Day excels at this, their content is greatly differentiated between platforms and evenly taken care of. Learning from your “competitors” is key.
- The main person from Vsauce ( Michael Stevens) is not keen on sharing a lot of personal life – family, goals, thoughts, opinions, etc. while this might not be important in certain organizations or parties of different activities, knowing the main person behind the scenes is very attracting to viewers, especially in entertainment area. Vlogs, blogs, personal notes or anything like that would benefit his social media platforms immensely as this happened to others after opening up (Ray William Johnson, PewDiePie, Top10memes a.k.a LEMMiNO just to name a few).
Vsauce being really popular and liked Youtube channel has problems on other platforms, especially Facebook. If a business is based on social media then it is absolutely important to take care of at least the most important platforms, however Vsauce seems to focus only on Twitter (and of course Youtube). If some recommendations would be addressed I believe that Vsauce could be even more popular because at this time it seems that “he/they sleep on the glory” of their Youtube channel.
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