Anatomy of a Viral SharePoint Penguin Video

Back in January I travelled with Michael Noel, Paul Swider, Mark Miller, Dan Holme, Ricardo Munoz and John Anderson in a Sharing The Point Tour across South America and Antarctica. You may remember that trip sponsored by fpweb and AvePoint. I shared my experiences on my tech blog SharePoint trip to Antarctica.  I blogged about my travel and include photos and videos in a travel post Antarctica the final frontier. I hadn’t thought much about those videos, although I did feel like some of the experiences captured in video were pretty special.

Since 2006, I’ve uploaded 80 videos to Youtube.  Up to this week I was feeling a little better than average with over 100,000 views to my collection of travel videos and assortment of a few tech videos.  Check out my youtube channel. You’ll find Steve Ballmer’s keynote describing what SharePoint is at the SharePoint Conference as well as the SharePoint Perth User group saying hello, as well as my SharePoint Water Cooler video, one of my more popular SharePoint vids. My travel videos such as the Golden Triangle Long Neck Karen tribe, Talented Monkeys, Elephant Trekking, the reveal of Petra and the Taj Mahal are pretty awesome as well. My trip across South Africa big 5, and great white shark diving with Eric Harlan are some of my more popular travel videos. Today I’m at a quarter of a million, and trending upward fast! Here’s my experience over the last couple of days.

Figuring out how something goes viral is the key to success as a blogger or in sharing things on the internet across social media. What makes it pop and what happens when it does?

On Saturday I noticed I was getting a bunch of comments on my Baby Penguin YouTube video


Pictured: SharePoint Joel with my baby penguin friend

I figured something had to have happened.  I found a couple of clues that many of you might be interested in.

1. My video was listed on youtube.com/videos through a featured area called "Tastefully Offensive," this is where my search for answers began.  From there I found it was proudly displayed along with a number of other videos.  The number of likes at that time in the hundreds made me realize it was getting an unusual amount of traffic.


2. Next I turned to the newer analytics platform for answer


I can clearly see the number of views, but right next to the number I see a little stack diagram. Clicking on that… you can show video statistics.

3. In the statistics we can clearly see an incredible spike.  On the 18th I had about 500 views on this video, and the 19th multiple activities stemming around sayomg.com, which then led to dailypicksandflicks.com picking it up, and then youtube /videos.  While the numbers in the chart seem trivial, the answer is that’s really where the spark came from.  I am now getting at peak around 10,000 views per hour, and it’s hard to tell if it’s slowing down or if it’s just an around the clock thing. 


4. Many would think that’s where it ends.  It’s not.  These sites helped spark off some larger ones.  The media feed off of users and the liking, and commenting.  When a certain volume gets reached, the video is seen as more viral.  I have google search alerts setup for when my name or username is used on any web page and sure enough, I was notified when CBSNews posted a blurb about my video.


5. Today some very interesting email from a variety sources started flowing in.

Viral Spiral

I am Head of Research at Viral Spiral, the world’s leading management company for YouTube videos- including "Charlie Bit My Finger", the most viewed viral video of all time.
I have recently seen your "Baby Penguin meets human for the first time" video and we would be very interested in representing you, as we feel your Channel has real commercial potential.

I replied.  Let’s discuss.

Good Morning America & ABCNews

I’m writing on behalf of Good Morning America and ABC News. We absolutely love the video you posted on YouTube showing "Baby Penguin meets human for the first time," ([http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdmQ9nMkI-g]) and we’d like to share it with our viewers!

We would like to request permission to show this video on GMA (and across our ABC News shows and platforms, which is seen worldwide and on all media).

I replied in the affirmative and answered the follow up questions around ownership.

Yahoo! Video

Hi Joel,

I work with Yahoo! Video and we are interested in featuring your video where you meet the penguin.

We want to feature it on Yahoo!’s Network (Yahoo’s owned, operated, and partner websites, applications, programs and services using Yahoo’s embeddable video player). This email is our request to use your Video.

If you agree to grant Yahoo! an irrevocable, world-wide, non-exclusive license to exhibit your Video, by any means and in any media, on Yahoo!’s Network, please reply to this email with the term AGREE in caps.

Since this wasn’t going to be exclusive, I didn’t see why not.

Cheezburger

Hi,
I work for a network of websites, Cheezburger, and we are interested in purchasing the rights to your video "Baby Penguin meets human for the first time."

Purchasing the rights, sounded much more involved, and I was just beginning to enjoy the viral parts of this… why sell?

(Emails all trimmed to secure the privacy of those I was communicating with)

6.  Clicking Youtube’s watch page vs. Embed player.  Click on the words embedded player for much more detailed referral statistics, but also note more than half of all views make it through the watch page.


7. Is a video viral if it’s only on one website?  Probably not.  Well here we go…


Now we can clearly see the video was picked up on all sorts of sites, and while the numbers may still not add up to 116,000 it’s a good start. 


In the analytics we can see the referral information as well as it relates to Youtube itself.  While the users may mostly be using the YouTube player, the vast majority of referrlas are coming from outside travel including mobile, and many many referrals outside of YouTube.  We get an idea of who those people are by looking above.

As well I look at likes, favorites, and watch closely on percentage of likes to dislikes.  You want to keep the ratio high.

Doing a search on google, I can see the stories are going live and the video is popping up in all sorts of interesting places…

Huffington Post UK



CBSNEWS


What’s Next?

I’ve now got commentary on my video and the google juice is really starting to work. Search for "baby penguin" and I’ve got a couple of entries right on the results page.

ITN reached out and I gave them permission to use the video and they did a great job of adding music and commentary. Hillarious.

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