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Vertical video: how UFC, Arizona Cardinals and Southampton FC maximize social media engagement
June 8, 2021
By 2022, videos are projected to make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic, and according to YANS, 90% of vertical videos have a higher watch completion rate than horizontal video.
The continued rise in global smartphone adoption across all age demographics, and the rise in video viewing on these devices, is reflected in the growth of social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and now TikTok.
Vertical video viewing has rapidly risen in popularity with the launch of these platforms. With a reported worldwide 689 million monthly active TikTok users, and 280 million daily Snapchat users, broadcasters, organizations and teams need to adapt their video strategy to activate the vast audiences across these platforms.
Meeting audience expectations on these platforms takes a nuanced approach. Those who have been able to match the tone and style of content have seen huge early successes.
In February, Grabyo partner UFC announced a partnership with TikTok to produce weekly live content on the platform. The vertical native content encompasses new weekly UFC shows that feature live footage from weigh-ins, press conferences, athlete interviews, arena tours, and fighter training.
Each weekly show is dedicated to a live event, driving engagement and building a fan base for the UFC by engaging the younger demographic on Tik Tok. UFC’s decision to devote the extra time and resource to delivering vertical native content shows the value that major organizations see in the platform.
UFC has stated it aims to grow its TikTok base to over 7 million on its official channels. Since 2019, #UFC hashtag that has been viewed 8 billion times.
The company has pledged to collaborate with TikTok to distribute hundreds of pieces of content each year across its channels including @UFC, @UFCRussia, @UFCBrasil, and @UFCEurope in order to propel its growth on the platform.
Building a following from scratch on a platform takes audience understanding but also commitment. UFC’s success has come from its focus on delivering the right style of content consistently.
Southampton FC is a football club known for bringing its personality to fans on social media. Its digital and social production teams are dedicated to doing things a bit differently when it comes to engaging with fans online.
The club’s keen eye for trends, has enabled it to create successful content strategies for TikTok. Southampton FC’s light-hearted approach to content and viral trends has enabled the club to seamlessly integrate TikTok to its social content mix.
At the beginning of November 2020, the club reacted to reaching the top of the Premier League table for the first time in its history, early in the 2020/21 season, with a tweet that read ‘Stop the Count’, a reference to Donald Trump’s remarks during the US election happening at the time.
The post went viral, reaching over 490K engagements on Twitter. It now ranks as the most popular tweet of the season from a Premier League club. The tweet then featured in one of Southampton’s TikTok videos a couple of weeks later, posted as a reaction to the club dropping from the top spot. The TikTok video reached over 200K views.
Southampton now has 241.8K followers and 3.1M likes on the platform. Its digital team has continued to be on top of trends, delivering engaging content to its fans with a particular focus on the younger demographic. TikTok is one of the main opportunities to engage this demographic and Southampton FC has capitalized on this.
The club uses Grabyo to simplify the process of identifying an opportunity for a TikTok video. During the creation of TikTok videos, the team is connected using Grabyo’s cloud platform as a centralized workspace for collaborative asset management and content approvals.
With more freedom, Southampton FC is able to keep up with ever-changing trends on TikTok, participating in hashtags, replying to fan comments, joining in with the latest memes, and giving the Saints’ channel an authentic, human feel - something that is vital to engaging audiences on all social platforms.
Using Grabyo, the Arizona Cardinals has developed content across multiple platforms including TikTok and Snapchat. The team has been dynamic in adapting to trends in a year which has been challenging for live engagement.
The digital team was quick to the rise of vertical native content in sharing clips, highlights, and behind-the-scenes content to TikTok and Snapchat. Its move into TikTok has seen the franchise gain 450K followers and 4.5M likes on the platform.
This success can be attributed to the variety of content the team produce. Viewers ojn Snpachat and Tik Tok aren’t looking for highlights, they want more behind the scenes, challenges, interviews and other engaging formats.
The Arizona Cardinals has also struck an exclusive sponsorship deal for its Tik Tok content. The team produces a series that is sponsored by Canes Chicken Fingers called #Gettoknowme, in which players answer a series of questions from fans. Many media companies have searched for a way to monetize Tik Tok content and the Cardinals have showcased a leading example.