Metrics Reporting

Project background

Upon reviewing recent posts on @NASA and other profiles including @NASAAero and @NASASolarSystem, it was discovered that there was a formatting issue on Android devices. The formatting was removed on Android devices, making it difficult to read the posts. It was, therefore, necessary to identify the cause of this error, its extent, and its effect on messaging strategy.

Creative process

  1. To address this issue a report was generated using data pulled from NASA's content scheduling and metrics software. This report compared the performance data of posts from the month before the formatting issue was discovered to the performance data of recent posts with formatting intact.

  2. To troubleshoot the cause of the irregular formatting common methods of posting content to channels were each tested to determine which processes caused the formatting error.

  3. To identify how formatting errors may have affected NASA's social messaging on the platform—the percentage of followers who used Android devices versus iOS devices was researched and reported.

Final results

The Culprit

After investigation, it was determined that the cause of the formatting issue was users copying approved content from Microsoft Teams chats and pasting them into the iOS Instagram application. While the formatting appeared on the users' devices, it was removed on the backend for viewing on Android devices.

The Effect by the Numbers

  • Properly formatted posts received about 100,000 more

    post likes and about 400 more comments per post on average than their unformatted counterparts.

  • Properly formatted posts received over 2 million more likes and about 9,000 more comments overall than their unformatted counterparts.

  • Of the 5 most engaged posts pulled in the data sample 4/5 were properly formatted.

  • Roughly 67% of our Instagram following accessed our posts via Android devices, with the vast majority of them being part of our international audience.

  • 57.8 million of our Instagram subscribers were viewing NASA content that was improperly formatted and therefore difficult to read.

The Solution and Results

The completed report was presented in an enterprise-wide digital meeting which encouraged account owners to only post via content publishing software, the Instagram website, or to use reformatting software before posting natively on the iOS Instagram app. As a result, formatting issues were largely eliminated on all Instagram accounts.

Check out the before and after...

A smartphone mockup of a NASA Instagram post with the lede "Scenes from an orbital restaurant." The post doesn't include formatting.
A smartphone mockup of a NASA Instagram post with the lede "Scenes from an orbital restaurant." The post does include formatting.