Since its inception in 1896, the Daily Mail has been a huge hit with readers and audiences around the world, thanks to its long history of independent reporting, coverage of foreign affairs, and mass appeal. In its early days, the middle-market newspaper grew so quickly the owners had to find more printing facilities; by 1902, the Daily Mail boasted the largest circulation in the entire world at one million, rivaling top competitors The New York World and The New York Journal.
Now, the Daily Mail’s popularity has gone digital. With over 11.3 million followers on Facebook alone, the news outlet is one of the most-watched video producers around, frequently claiming a top ten position on Tubular’s monthly Facebook and cross-platform leaderboards. In April, for example, the Daily Mail pulled in over 950 million total video views on Facebook. What makes the brand’s videos so appealing? Here’s what we discovered when we analyzed the Daily Mail’s video content.
The Daily Mail Thrives on Experimental, Heartfelt Content
Despite being known as a news outlet, the Daily Mail takes a decidedly less hard-news stance with its content and relies on more entertainment-based videos to draw in views. And it’s worked. The brand’s most-watched Facebook videos of all time have raked in almost 1.4 billion total views to date. Where do the majority of these views come from? Experimental-style videos which pose questions or compelling social situations viewers can’t help but click and watch.
With 97% of its total social reach stemming from Facebook, the Daily Mail has seen some impressive view counts on individual videos on that platform. For example, a clip from September 2016, featuring a little girl giving her dinner to a homeless man, claims the highest view count of all time for the Daily Mail at 154 million views; about a third of these views, around 50 million, were generated in just three days’ time. This video also features a higher-than-average 30-day engagement rate (ER30) of 1.2x.
In terms of views in the first 30 days (V30), the Daily Mail video owning that accolade belongs to (surprisingly) the media brand’s tenth most-watched Facebook clip of all time. Despite having “just” 118 million views, the video highlighting a variety of magic tricks and optical illusions boasts an imposing V30 of 104 million. The video with the next-closest V30 is still 6 million away from that benchmark at 97.8 million views.
Engagement Runs High on the Daily Mail’s YouTube Account
The Daily Mail can also claim social video accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and the now defunct Vine. However, it’s on the news brand’s YouTube channel, which also hosts social experiments and heartfelt stories about real people in real situations, where an interesting anomaly in engagement occurred. On average across all its accounts, the Daily Mail boasts an ER30 of 0.8x. While many of its clips of course have ER30 stats higher than this, the video with the highest ER30 of all Daily Mail accounts lives on YouTube.
The video in question is Heathrow Airport’s 2016 Christmas advertisement, which pulled in almost 23k views and shows an elderly teddy bear couple arriving home in the airport after a trip. And it dominated in terms of engagement. Just how high is this video’s ER30? A whopping 5.9x. That’s a solid 4.9x higher than the baseline average!
Similarly, a clip from April 2016, which highlights an autistic boy crying for joy while seeing his favorite band Coldplay perform live for the first time in his life, is another YouTube clip from Daily Mail which saw an incredible ER30. This video, which has just over 209k views, struck a chord with viewers; the clip’s ER30 was 5.5x (4.5x higher than the baseline) thanks to over 2800 likes, comments, and shares on YouTube alone.
For the Daily Mail, YouTube is the place to be for higher-than-average engagement metrics. Its audience on that platform is highly invested in its content, so much so they interact with it, share it, like it, and comment on it. Of course, other publishers can take a cue from Daily Mail by paying attention to their own engagements on various platforms to see which one best resonates with their particular audiences, and creating content specifically optimized for that outlet.
Overall, it’s quite clear the Daily Mail knows exactly the type of content its followers are willing to watch over and over again, as well as what videos its fans are willing to interact with on a regular basis. Those entertainment-style clips have taken the Daily Mail’s digital profile to new heights, and assured that the long-running news and media brand isn’t going away anytime soon.