How Brut Used Facebook Live and CrowdTangle to Reach 25 Million People During the Paris Protests

During the 2018 Yellow Vest protests in Paris, digital media publisher Brut went live on Facebook. The idea was sparked after the team noticed in CrowdTangle that live video tended to be especially engaging for news publishers during major news moments.

The tactic worked: Throughout the protests, Brut posted a number of on-the-scene Facebook Lives, notching over 40 million views and reaching 25 million people over the course of one month. At its peak, Brut hit 17 million live viewers in a single day. It’s an example of how the Live video format, coupled with insights from CrowdTangle, can help during a breaking news moment.

The Yellow Vest movement is a grassroots social movement in France that began at the end of 2018. The movement protests rising fuel prices coupled with high costs of living, and at one point featured protests more than nine weekends in a row across France, centered in Paris.

Brut, a French digital video publisher, was at the center of it all by reporting through Facebook Live.

“Using Facebook Live made us the go-to broadcaster for live information on the Yellow Vests in Paris,” said Guillaume Lacroix, CEO of Brut.

Lacroix and his team had also used CrowdTangle to get a sense of what types of Live video worked for publishers during past breaking news events, like the 2018 Women’s March in the U.S. They noticed that really good Live video formats tended to overperform more so than other post types during a breaking news moment.

Facebook Live was so impactful because it put journalists directly on the ground and connected with Brut’s audience. Viewers could tune in live to “actively engage with the news instead of passively consuming it,” Lacroix said.

Ultimately, Brut’s Facebook Live coverage of the riots reached millions of people and earned tens of thousands of comments. We connected with Lacroix to learn more about how Brut reported on the movement using Facebook Live, their goals around Live, and the results they saw. We’ve also connected with Lacroix about Brut’s digital video strategy at large — check it out here:

Why did you opt to cover the “Yellow Vests” movement on Facebook Live?

Our Facebook Live videos are shot on an iPhone. This format allows our journalists to interact with the crowd and with the police in a less obtrusive manner than a camera crew would be.

Using Facebook Live also allows our audience to interact with us directly. They can ask questions in the comments, interact with a community, and actively engage with the news instead of passively consuming it. By allowing viewers to speak and engage within a community that has many points of view, we hope to avoid polarization and add context and nuance to our coverage.

Finally, Facebook Live is one of the best tools for increasing interested followers. Not only does it boost engagement for the short term, but it builds a healthy, engaged audience that keeps coming back.

What success did you see with Facebook Live?

We saw absolutely incredible success on this Facebook Live coverage. Using Facebook Live made us the go-to broadcaster for live information on the Yellow Vests in Paris. Millions of people around the world tuned in. We saw tens of thousands of comments and millions of minutes watched.

Using Facebook Live made us the go-to broadcaster for live information on the Yellow Vests in Paris.
Guillaume Lacroix CEO Brut

Over the last month, our series of Facebook Lives covering the protests have generated over 40 million live views, reached over 25 million people, and created over 3 million engagements, especially through comments and shares.

How do you plan to use Facebook Live in the future?

As the biggest live producer in France, Facebook Live is an incredibly important part of our newsroom. It helps us build an audience that trusts us. It allows for live conversation and debate about important news and policies. And it helps us act in fully transparency for our audience, because our journalists are seeing exactly what our viewers see.

Did other Facebook features inform your Live coverage?

CrowdTangle had several uses. Most importantly, CrowdTangle helped us find local sources of news for our journalists. These local sources tend to react more quickly to their own areas than national outlets would. CrowdTangle allows us to see what is creating engagement and interest at the local level. We can take that and scale it up as well, to ensure our journalist is informed and asking the right questions.


CrowdTangleFacebook Live

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