September 18, 2009

Joining the Double Comma club

Getting a million views+ of a viral campaign is a significant achievement. Research has shown that only 0.3% of videos get over 10,000 views on YouTube in a month, and only 0.001% get over 100,000 views views. So the chances of reaching a 1,000,000 views – or joining the “Double Comma Club” – are pretty slim according to the law of YouTube averages

Well, that’s if you don’t seed it. Seeding basically basically gives a campaign an unfair advantage against the millions of other YouTube opposition. Given that there’s an estimated 20 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, you can’t afford not to seed a campaign, otherwise you face a real danger of your content never getting seen – however good it is.

And this is the really interesting bit. There is a huge amount of great content on YouTube, and much of it gets hardly any views at all. Compared to the 0.001% that get over 100,000 views, 65% fail to break 50 views.

To give a bit of colour to this stat, check out a quick case study of a campaign we ran for the BBC recently – for their South Pacific series (SlideShared above) The two key take-aways from this project were:

1) Don’t be arrogant: yes undoubtedly the content we were seeding was good. However, that good doesn’t necessarily mean it will go viral (for the reasons noted above). See the penultimate slide for detail on this – but in short, there were two version of the South Pacific video uploaded to YouTube. We seeded one of them, and we generated over 1 million views (and 500,000 of those in the first 4 days), whereas other exact same video has barely reach 750 views.

2) Influencer mapping: when planning a campaign understand all the “viral hooks” and make sure you take into account all the relevant influencers. For example, in this case we identified the camera that the video was shot on would be of interest to the tech community, so seeded it into geek communities like Wired – a strategy that resulted in achieving the 1 millions views+ mark.