NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Upworthy, the mission-driven media company that reaches over 200 million people each month, today celebrates the power of empathy with a live event in New York City and a research study showing empathy is the key in motivating people to take action. As more brands explore purpose-driven storytelling, Upworthy's empathy-evoking stories increase reader engagement and activate brand purpose.
"We've built our brand on empathy for one reason: It works," said Eli Pariser, co-founder and co-CEO of Upworthy. "Empathic stories are a great way to pop the filter bubble, which is more important than ever because of today's sharply divided political climate."
To spread awareness of empathy's power, Upworthy invites New Yorkers to #UpYourEmpathy at its Empathy Lab, running today from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Madison Square Park. Event attendees will have a chance to experiment with state-of-the-art facial-recognition software that tests empathy in real-time by measuring facial reactions in response to various pieces of Upworthy video content. At the conclusion of each video, participants will be told their empathy score and how it compares to the benchmark. The event was produced by Actual, a New York-based brand design and experience studio.
Upworthy's new study, released today, further supports the brand's hypothesis that empathy is the key to having an impact on engagement and behavior. For the study, researchers split participants into control and treatment groups, with the control group watching a neutral video while the treatment group watched a video about victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Participants who viewed the video about Nepal reported these immediate reactions:
- 79% lift in ability to empathize with those affected by the earthquake
- 97% lift in awareness of the earthquake
- 58% lift in likelihood to share information about the earthquake (among those who experienced highest empathy scores)
- 3.5x lift in likelihood to attend an event to raise awareness or money (among those who experienced highest empathy scores)
All results were statistically significant.
"These findings show the power of empathy to drive engagement and action," said Sean Wojcik, Ph.D., senior data scientist at Upworthy. "Our ability to use data to evoke empathy pays off: Upworthy stories are shared nine times more than stories from competitors and create an average brand lift of 60 percent."
Upworthy's commitment to empathy is evident in their redesigned website, also launching today.
In addition to a more visual design and a focus on video, the new upworthy.com organizes content into five categories: Being Well (useful, thoughtful, and practical knowledge to improve lives); Culture (stories about uplifting, inspirational, and life-changing experiences found in art, travel, food, and entertainment); Breakthroughs (scientific discoveries that shape our lives); Real Life (powerful, relatable, human stories about everyday moments); and The Conversation (current event coverage that elevates the shared conversation).
Upworthy is a mission-driven, video-first media company, founded in 2012 by Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley. Upworthy has since become the fastest-growing media company in the U.S., and this year pivoted toward original and branded stories that create empathy, change the way people see the world, and inspire them to share meaningful content. People share Upworthy stories nine times more often than those from the top 25 publishers, according to NewsWhip.