On average, 26 per cent of traffic to news sites is from social, according to a recent study by analytics platform Chartbeat. That figure also includes email, which is social in nature and is often referred to as 'dark social' as referrer data can be hard to track.
And social media is a better than average source of new visitors. On average 31 per cent of visitors to a news site have not clicked on the site before, whereas 41 per cent of social visitors to a news site are new.
When thinking about shareable content, it is worth noting that people clicking on social links are highly mobile. On average, 25 per cent of traffic to news sites is via mobile, whereas 40 per cent of social traffic to news sites is mobile, according to Chartbeat.
Here are five innovative uses of video. All are suited to sharing on social media and viewing on a mobile phone.
1. The Economist – live charts
The Economist has started adapting its charts for video. A voiceover provides an explainer and highlights details of the chart.
Here is an example, which is 47 seconds, and explains the rise of tablet computers.
2. BBC News – Instagram video
Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines at the end of last week, the BBC has been taking short clips from longer packages and pushing them out to its growing Instagram following.
You may not have thought it would be possible to tell much of a story in 15 seconds, but this example shows how a micro-video can provide insight. You can also see how these short clips can attract new audiences and engage younger viewers.
3. Channel 4 News – explainer videos
Channel 4 News is creating short explainer videos. In this video, Jamal Osman answers the question of "who are Al Shabbab?"
In 3 minutes 43 seconds, the viewer can gain insight into a complex story.
Channel 4 News put out the Al Shabbab explainer soon after the Nairobi terror attack. But these videos have long-tail, a lifecycle beyond the day they are published.
Another example is Lindsey Hilsum explaining "why we should care about Qatar's new ruler".
4. Wall Street Journal – WorldStream
The Wall Street Journal launched WorldStream just over a year ago. Reporters share 30-second videos, which tend to be behind-the-scenes explainers or breaking news events.
For example, here is a 27-second video showing how "plumes of tear gas hang over Istanbul’s Taksim Square" during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul.
WorldStream uses an adapted version of an app called Tout, which is also used by Digital First Media in the US.
5. Huffington Post – Vine
A number of news outlets have been experimenting with Vines, the six-second video app launched by Twitter.
The Telegraph reported from London Fashion Week using Vine videos, for example.
And of course Vines do not need to be shot by journalists. They can be curated by a news outlet. For example, Huffington Post posted round-up of Vines from London Fashion Week.
Here is more on how news outlets are using microvideo to share short snippets of footage with their audience.