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EMAC 2023 Annual

Using visual cues in user-generated video content to explain viewer engagement

Published: May 24, 2023


Lina Oechsner, ESSEC Business School; Raoul K├╝bler, ESSEC Business School


The evolution of social media platforms has shifted content focus from text only, via text and images, to images and videos. With YouTube, Instagram Reels, and TikTok, social media platforms now heavily rely on video content. While previous research in the domain has largely focused on drivers of user engagement based on text content, so far only few insights about the engagement drivers of video-based content exist. Given the vast differences between video- and text-based content, as well as the growing importance of actual post content over other factors (e.g., followership), it is essential for platform owners, creators, users, and brands to understand how video-based content drives engagement. The present study addresses this gap by analyzing 19,600 videos from TikTok. Our results show that classic clickbait mechanisms work, but the effect diminishes with increasing duration. Videos that present summary notes towards the end also profit from higher engagement rates.