SlideShare at ONS

ONS has had a SlideShare account since 2013 with most of the content uploaded until recently including made up of event presentations, documents or infographics.

In March 2016, we decided to try new content types to see what does and doesn’t work in SlideShare. Since then, we’ve published 8 presentations onto the platform with varying themes and formats. This blog shares what we’ve learnt so far…

Why we tried SlideShare

SlideShare was founded in 2006 and joined the LinkedIn family in 2012. since then, the platform has grown into a platform for publishing professional content. It has 40 content categories and one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world.

There’s an average of 70 million people browsing the SlideShare website monthly with a predominately business audience including engaged business owners. Similarly to other social media platforms, SlideShare has a varied audience but has up to 5 times more traffic from business owners than Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

In the context of our user personas, SlideShare works best for the Information Forager:


What we did

Since March 2016, we’ve posted slides from the Public Policy Forum, Economic Forum, reformatted an article originally published on our Visual website and created bespoke pieces of content.

The highest reach of any of our SlideShares was the’Young People in the UK‘ post, with 18,576 views.

This chart shows the total views of all SlideShare posts to our profile over the past 6 months.

Total SlideShare views

Total views of all SlideShare posts

The most interesting comparison for me came from our SlideShare on e-cigarettes. This had 3,816 unique views but only 855 unique views on the visual article. This demonstrates the reach of this platform may be wider than ourwebsite for specific types of content.
Total views for the 'smoking' SlideShare

Total views for the ‘smoking’ SlideShare

Looking at other SlideShare presentations from the past few months, it is interesting to learn how people interact with the content. Below you can see how people, out of a total of 6,506 views,  engage with the content:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 15.31.21

Engagements with the skin cancer SlideShare post

The analytics available to monitor our performance within the SlideShare platform are limited but provide a ‘high-level view’ of reach and engagement, allowing us to track and compare basic metrics.

What works

We’ve come up with three basic recommendations for the types of content we will share on SlideShare. These have been developed from a mix of our recent findings and from best practice guidelines for the platform. As always, we will continue to review and test new types of content.

1: Event slides

SlideShare expert, Julius Solaris said “a presentation that shines on SlideShare is not a presentation you made at an event, it is made for SlideShare”. With this in mind, the main focus for content on SlideShare should not be event presentations or slides from conferences.

We should restrict event slides to only large events that are relevant to a wider audience, not just those who attended the event; for example, presentation slides from the Economic Forum or our Public Policy Forum. Slides from events posted on our SlideShare profile should appeal to the Information Forager user persona.

2: Storytelling

Storytelling content works very well on SlideShare. Content written in a storytelling format should have short, bite-sized chunks of information knitted together to tell a story about a particular topic. There should be a clear theme throughout the SlideShare deck and each slide should build on the last to give a complete story by the end of the presentation. 

This content format works well if you are trying to address a problem or issue; attempting to answer a question; or tackling a specific subject to teach.

Our Skin Cancer in England and Young People in the UK SlideShare posts follow this format.

3: Listicles

SlideShare can be used to share a short list of key facts or “top statistics” about one, specific topic. 

An example of a SlideShare we have posted in a listicle format is our 8 Facts about the Environment post.

What next?

We’ll continue to test the platform with various types of content to grow our knowledge in how to optimise content for this audience.

The recent purchase of LinkedIn and SlideShare by Microsoft is a potential threat to our future use of the platform; however, following the buy-out of Yammer by Microsoft a few years ago, we’re not worried… time will tell!

We’ll continue to monitor our social media accounts and optimise, prioritise and develop our social media presence based on feedback from our users.

To wrap up, here are some top tips for using SlideShare:

  • Slides should be 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall
  • All presentations need a unique title, description and a minimum of three tags
  • Content should be unique to ONS (or your organisation) so there isn’t competition for ‘views’ inside the platform
  • File sizes are optimised and reduced to make the presentations suitable for sharing on other social media platforms (such as Twitter)
  • All uploads should be PDF
  • Each slide should have only one specific focus. You should avoid having more than one fact on a slide.
  • Content should be kept to a minimum and each slide should have powerful imagery or charts. Readers on SlideShare respond better to graphics so they should feel as if they’re reading a visual article or storybook as they consume the deck.
  • Hyperlinks should be available on every slide after slide 3 to give context to the reader and easily allow navigation to more information.
  • Include a call to action at the end of the deck to allow the user journey to continue.
  • It’s important to hook your audience as fast as possible. Ensure that the headline on your first slide is compelling and has the ability to lure your audience into wanting to read more
  • The text on every slide should use large fonts
  • The cover slide should not be plain white, black or a solid colour but as bright and eye-catching as possible.

Take a look at our SlideShare profile and email us your feedback!

3 comments on “SlideShare at ONS”

  1. I’ve started looking at using reveal.js – – as a medium for storytelling. The 2D ability is useful if you want to provide more depth “behind” a slide; the audio plugin will narrate slides for you (sort of! ) Full demo here: The framework also works with Jupyter, either as an export format – – or as a live interactive code executing environment

  2. Thanks for sharing- definitely worth exploring (although sounds like I need to get someone more technical than me to help)- Jo

Comments are closed.