Weekly Wochit: Essence takes its audience back

Essence recently pushed out a striking, unique social video to commemorate President Obama’s final day in office. The look back at his inaugural celebrations highlighted performances, celebrity remarks, and, of course, the former president himself. Essence tapped into the ongoing conversation about American politics with a positive spin, and their audience embraced it. This piece currently has over 5.6 million views, almost 150,000 shares, 129,000 reactions, and over 2,500 comments.

Take a look back at Obama’s inaugurations:

The first thing you noticed, after Aretha Franklin’s stunning voice, was likely the shape of this piece. The square format is a smart move on social as it takes up more visual real estate in feeds. Standing out as users scroll through on their devices is the first step in social video success.

This clip is loaded with great footage of big name performances, celebrity remarks, and the former president himself. The end of Obama’s term and all things relating to politics in the U.S. have been at the forefront of social for weeks (and show little sign of taking a backseat any time soon). The creators tap into that conversation here from a celebratory angle.

There are a couple unique elements to this video that aren’t as often seen these days, but work very well here.

The video is almost entirely free of text, aside from captioning of Obama’s remarks at the end. In fact, it relies entirely on its social share copy to contextualize the footage, skipping an intro or contextualizing overlay. Here, this allows to drop viewers straight into excellent footage that, after a few moments, contextualizes itself by the nature of the content.

Following from this absence of text is the presence of and reliance on natural audio. This video is all about the songs and speeches and instead of offering them in caption, the creators have chosen to make hearing them a key component of the experience.

Best practices these days usually dictate the need for text-overlay in social videos and pull the emphasis off of audio. This is in response to all the mobile viewing that occurs, and a need to push out content viewers might enjoy anywhere at any time.

But best practices are just that – tips for the best results. Experimenting outside those norms can still produce excellent results, especially if your assets and content are powerful on their own. Essence embraced a different approach here, and it paid off big time.

See you next week for another great Wochit-made video!

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