Turning a newsletter into videos.

Everyday the Product Hunt team curates their newsletter. As it gets to our inbox, Algo autonomously turns it into a series of Instagram stories highlighting what’s trending today on the platform.

Total number of videos created 491
Trigger type Daily
Average creation time 2 min

Ok, not the whole newsletter -of course. We pick one specific paragraph that usually focuses on a single cool new product. It includes a short, usually ironic, emoji-based description of the product and a link. Algo automatically grabs the human-curated text and then uses the link (and the PH’s Api) to obtain all the product pics and data. 

We then combine all data to create a Buzzfeed-style video about a different interesting product everyday, and publish it to disposable social media like Instagram Stories or Snapchat, to help the Product Hunt team boost their social video strategy. Have a look at the examples below, or check all videos created in our dashboard demo account.
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Our goal for the project is to experiment on how a completely autonomous video creation process (empowered by Algo) could become notewhorty on social media by embedding a daily supply of qualitative human curation -the sentence describing the product- to it.
Will output videos look completely handcrafted to a social media audience? The project also showcases how Algo can use different kind of media like images, gifs and video files.
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To enable the project we had to face a few interesting challenges: like adding emoji support to After Effects, which is the industry standard software that Algo runs to create videos. Emojis aren’t natively supported, but today are a fundamental aspect of human communication, and the Product Hunt team makes a large use of them, everywhere.

Emoji recognition

To solve this we wrote a script that recognises emojis within a text and substitutes them with the corresponding image inside After Effects.

Another challenge was how to handle the sentence. Since its length and structure is completely free we had to find a way to make it work within our video structure. Analysing all past Product Hunt newsletters (since we subscribed) we found out what the average text looks like and we dediced to split the sentence in three blocks, that would be showcased with a corresponding product image.

Dividing a sentence in three lines is no easy job. With a regular expression you can easily be wrong and split words that need to stay on the same line (like “New” and “York”). To avoid abrupt cuts that would feel robotic, we added a natural language processing library that is able to “understand” the correlation between consecutive words, thus allowing us to slipt the sentence like a human would do, most of the time.

Product Hunt Colour palette alternative 1 Product Hunt Colour palette alternative 2 Product Hunt Colour palette alternative 3

To maximise variety, we then designed three different colour options for the intro and outro animations. Each goes with a different music track.

The number of Instagram Stories posted worldwide doubles every six months.


Snapchat and Instagram APIs aren’t supporting automatic upload for organic stories yet. Nonetheless we made the posting process as simple as possible by sending clients an email with all videos attached. This way videos can be easily downloaded on mobile devices and published in a couple of taps.

If you want to run stories as Ads, instead, both platforms allow automatic upload. In this case the process can be completely automated from video production to media buying and Ad distribution.

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