The primary objective for Men's Health across all platforms--print, digital, and social--is to provide service. This year, we aimed to deliver high quality videos that provide men (and women!) with workouts, exercise tips, recipes, style advice, and relationships advice in short, direct videos. We published variations of our video content on our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube with the goal of delivering interesting, valuable advice that viewers could take and apply to their lives. We aimed to grow the Men's Health network by creating compelling videos that viewers would continually want to see on our website and on social media.
As part of a larger brand strategy, we brought in BJ Gaddour to be our full-time Fitness Director and on-site talent for fitness videos, allowing us to film and produce significantly more videos than in previous years.
We began publishing 4 videos every day on Facebook, and compiling weekly reports on the videos' performance. We analyzed what worked--and what didn't--and adjusted our filming schedule according to the kind of content viewers enjoyed. We discovered quickly that videos should be under two and a half minutes and able to be viewed without sound. By assessing the performance of our videos on a weekly basis, we were able to make adjustments and guide the future of our videos.
Our biggest discovery was the value of "variations" videos--lightning-fast videos showing multiple ways to do the same kinds of exercise. These exploded for us on social media, so we continued to make them. We have variations videos for pushups, pullups, stepups, skater jumps, box jumps, cardio exercises, free weights, and more.
In addition to posting Facebook videos, we overhauled our Instagram page and began posting 3-4 fitness videos per day. Many of the videos on Instagram are similar--but not identical--to the ones on our Facebook page.
We launched our Cook & Chisel program, a free video series outlining what workouts to do and what to eat every day for a week. Our video team cut all of the "Cook" versions of the program into their own 60-second recipe videos, which were circulated on our website and social media channels. The "Chisel" videos were cut in to individual workouts and posted in articles online and Facebook videos.
The essential piece to our video success in 2015 is the collaboration of our Fitness Director, editorial team, video team, and social media team. By taking a holistic approach to our videos, we examined our strategy from every angle and produced the highest quality videos possible.
The numbers speak for themselves: One of our variations videos had 161 million reach and 44 million views on Facebook. The success of that video alone gained us an additional 1 million Facebook fans in less than a month.
A second variations video on Facebook had a reach of 20 million and 6.7 million video views in just 48 hours. Since we began posting 4 videos per day on Facebook, our audience (likes) grew from 3.6 million to 6 million.
Our Instagram videos and increased activity launched us from 180,000 followers in May 2015 to nearly 600,000 in February 2016--a growth of more than 200% in less than a year.
In January 2016 alone, we had nearly 3 million video views on the website--the highest in Men's Health history.
Not only did we achieve our objective of creating high-quality videos for viewers, we expanded our social media audience significantly, increased views on the website, and put Men's Health content in front of more eyes online.