Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 16, 2008 4:29 PM

Does 3,495 Views On YouTube Mean It's Viral?

On February 12th, 2008 (about four days ago) I posted a video to YouTube called, Apple Macbook Air Sony Vaio Parody. I did three things after that: I wrote this Blog posting called, Apple Macbook Air Sony Vaio Parody - My First YouTube Attempt, posted a tweet on twitter and posted the video on my Facebook profile.

As of this moment, the video has 3,495 views, 27 people rated it (4/5 stars) with 24 comments.

Is it viral?

I had some initial ideas around posting it in both Sony Vaio and Apple Macbook groups on Facebook and other online user groups, doing some Blogger outreach and even posting it on other video sharing sites, but I haven't. There's a small part of me that is curious to see how it goes if I do nothing at all. By taking a quick look at the YouTube numbers, it's getting about one thousand views a day. I'm wondering if there will be some kind of momentum effect where it starts doubling or tripling as the days wane on, or if it caps at one thousand views per days and slowly dies off/down.

If you were keeping count, how would you score it? What metrics/analytics make sense, and at what point would you consider this a success (or failure)?

My only intent was to get a bunch of people to see it. There was no desire to drive traffic somewhere else or thoughts of data collection or client acquisition.

So, as these thoughts ramble through my brain I started taking some notes and soon realized that even if you're using online video to Market some kind of product, service or idea, each campaign might have its own, unique, set of metrics that may have no relation to one another.

I wonder how that type of thinking will sit with the CMOs and Agency brass in this new economy?

Here's the video if you have not taken a look yet:

For the record, there would be no video without my partner-in-crime, David Usher.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Dave Fleet
    Mitch Joel

    Hi Mitch,

    First up, great video! There are plenty of parodies of the Macbook Air up there but yours is up there with the best.

    To judge whether this video is a success or a failure, I'd say you first have to know what you wanted to achieve with it. If all you wanted was to have people watch it then sure, a number of views would suffice. In most cases, though, you have some other aim - driving traffic, participation, sales or leads.

    In this case your objective was just to have a bunch of people see it. Looks like 3,500 people or so have done that, so I'd consider it a success.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    For quantifying the success of viral on YouTube, we use a couple of metrics. First, we look at the activity of the YouTube community (# of times video is viewed, rating, # of comments, # of bookmarks, and # of links. We also look for referrals from YouTube to a website. Lastly, we use Tube Mogul (www.TubeMogul.com), which allows you to slice and dice visits much like Google Analytics would.

    The one metric we recently started using as well is to look for the video itself infiltrating Blended Search. Getting the video in Blended Search will certainly help it "grow legs" - although it may not be considered a classic means of viral spread.

    Good luck with your analysis. I'd love to see a follow up.

    Reply
  • Posted by Connie Crosby
    Mitch Joel

    Looks like the idea of making a macbook air ad parody itself has gone viral, at any rate! You might want to submit your video to this site if you haven't already: http://macbookairad.com/

    3,500 hits is good in my books. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Connie

    Reply
  • Posted by Dave Nourse
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch-

    I think as long as it's growing, its a good number. It's the same argument that we get into with clients about the size of their database. It doesn't matter as long as it's growing.

    In terms of the actual number, I'm sure in this cluttered world you could make an argument that any number is a good number because essentially, you're not paying a nickel for it, so it's like getting XXX referrals for a brand for nothing.

    I've racked my brain hundreds of times on this one and have come to this conclusion when it comes to ads that we've posted on YouTube.

    Dave

    Reply
  • Posted by john
    Mitch Joel

    you might want to check out this working paper by duncan watts and jonah peretti -

    http://cdg.columbia.edu/uploads/papers/watts2007_viralMarketing.pdf

    explains a bunch of different ways that the successfulness of viral campaigns are calculated, and also attempts to define what makes a marketing campaign truly "viral." not a bad read, relatively short and very interesting.

    Reply
  • Posted by Douglas Walker
    Mitch Joel

    Personally, I would not consider that viral, even though it would can probably be considered successful. It might still ignite, but it isn't there yet, this is my rationale:

    For a video to achieve viral distribution it needs to be passed on by a lot of other people other than yourself. Now, I don't know how many twitter and facebook followers you have, but they are likely the cause of an initial traffic spike. You have also spoken about it on podcast and written about it on the blog.

    My personal belief is that a good 50% of your views could be accounted for by those who follow you and a good chunk of the other half from general MacBook Air searches that reveal your video. I think that unless you are getting a multiples of at least 4 or 5 times your existing follower base, it can't really be considered a "viral" success, but it is still a success if you catch my distinction.

    Now these things are all of course relative, so if I had released that video and I have a fraction of the audience base that you have, it could be considered a viral success.

    It all depends on where you start from...

    Reply
  • Posted by charlie
    Mitch Joel

    I've posted some sailing videos on youtube and expected that they might be viewed by
    a few hundred people, but some of them have had thousands of hits, and a couple are now at well over 20,000 hits with the number of hits growing steadily. I've just recently noticed that the youtube statistics list "viral views" as well as views from various links. I find this very interesting, and I'm pleased that this many people are interested in watching them-- far beyond my initial expectations.

    Reply
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