The first teaser trailer for the updated, photo-realistically animated version of The Lion King isn’t great. It’s a shot-for-shot remake of a scene from the 1994 original and does nothing other than promise the audience exactly the same experience they had 25 years ago. Despite that, it’s been immensely popular, wracking up 224 million views online across platforms in the first 24 hours, though how many of those were bots and other problematic views remains unclear.

What struck me as interesting was this Tweet from Alex Josephson, head of brand strategy at Twitter.


Every once in a while a debate will flair up about what platform makes the most sense for marketers or media companies to publish their videos on. The opinions offered usually driven to one extent or another by the self-interest of each individual offering it. But the answer more often than not isn’t one or another, but many of them for different reasons.

In general, Tweets have a lifespan of about 18 minutes. If they don’t take off or are otherwise seen in that time they’re pretty much done for. It’s a bit longer for Facebook posts, where 75 percent of engagement happens inside of the first five hours.

On YouTube, at least as of 2010, half of views occurred within six days, a much wider window.

While putting videos on any and all relevant platforms makes sense in terms of reaching as broad and diverse an audience as possible, it also needs to make sense from a business perspective.

In other words, if putting the video on Facebook can potentially increase views by 15 percent but you’re going to see a click-through rate on the accompanying link that’s less than a quarter what you’ll get elsewhere, don’t do it. Or if the audience there is one that’s not important to achieving the goals of a specific program, don’t do it.

What Josephson’s stats show, at least on a superficial level, is that Twitter is much more popular among the potential audience for The Lion King than Facebook is by a factor of about six.

So go run your own stats. Compare not only the numbers for a single video but for several. Break them down by content type, target audience, length, timeliness of the content and more. See what works and do your best to intuit why that is.

That’s the same process you should be going through with all your marketing content stats, including testing platform performance.