A Content Experiment Which Broke The Internet

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This is the story of a content experiment which grew so big, it smashed our benchmarks and created a whole new level of ‘Crazy’. It was early January and from the trends predicted for 2016, we knew this year belonged to videos. Videos are raining everywhere, from Facebook news-feeds to family groups on WhatsApp. More than 50% of mobile traffic is already dominated by videos, coupled with sky-rocketing mobile users in the country, it’s not just about videos but videos made for mobile. This is the story of how we took an innocent little content post and packaged it into a short and crisp video which hit 50 million views in under 3 weeks! (Learnings from experiment below)

Are You Kidding Me?

The challenge was to take a listicle with interesting content and fascinating pictures and convert it into a video. It had to move fast and engage and not look like a slide show (hate those lousy slideshows with cheesy animations). The strategy for a video listicle was born. Little did we know that this little experiment done on near zero budget, will catapult our reach, engagement and conversions to mount everest.

The Results – Beach Please!

We know from experience if something has viral potential, the numbers snow-ball, shares and views accelerate by the hour. The video hit a million views in ten hours, and on Day 3 the views were accelerating at a staggering 11,000 views per minute! Here’s the video

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In One Week:

  • The video hit 40 million views
  • Shared by a million users
  • Received 300,000 comments
  • Reached 150 million news-feeds on Facebook
  • Added 200,000 new fans to our Facebook page
  • Made ixigo Facebook page the fastest growing in the country on that day
  • Got 20,000+ additional app installs for ixigo apps

“A travel video that broke the internet”
Gizmodo

“ixigo proves Facebook (not YouTube) is the place for video marketing”
Tnooz

“ixigo lists world’s most unusual beaches”
Inshorts

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All In One Week – Look Closely!

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“The power of content marketing is the fact that a near zero budget video can compete with a TV Ad and beat it with numbers!”

Learnings – From The Trenches

  • First 3-6 seconds are the most crucial: News-feeds are getting chaotic, human attention spans are dropping. First impression is crucial (thumbnail image), but the ‘second first impression’ is the first 3-6 seconds, we need to move fast, engage and get them to hit ‘share’, the magical metric for viral content.
  • Sound elevates: Even though Facebook auto-plays the video, music/sound plays a big role. Bad quality video I’ll watch but bad sound is a deal breaker. The sound / music must elevate the visuals.
  • Move fast: Nothing must be static even for one frame: we panned pictures, added fast moving globe transitions. Videos are called moving pictures for a reason ;)
  • Square videos: The vertical/square videos which vine/instagram started work well for mobile audiences, since the format is native to mobiles. You don’t have to tilt the screen and they take up more real estate on the phone. And it’s no rocket science to know that mobile traffic is killing desktop in India!
  • Facebook video: Facebook has sharing in it’s DNA, not so much on YouTube. Facebook videos work when they are short, fast moving and tell the story in moving picture more than dialogues. You can use call to action buttons on videos and most importantly Facebook provides kick-ass distribution for video content compared to YouTube.
  • Keep Experimenting: We replicated the practices into a Republic Day video, which hit a decent million in 3 days. Operate like a movie studio, do ten experiment, two will work :)

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One More Thing, Seriously!

In the last two years it has been a roller coaster ride in producing, distributing and decoding viral content. I’m compiling it all into a non-nonsense book. It has the stories of learnings from the content marketing trenches, of how experiments became best practices for multi million views viral videos. About creating viral-worthy content, the art of news-jacking, earning users’ trust and coming up with topics for the next game changer. Join the mailing list and I will update you when it comes out :)

Oh BTW Here’s The Video

And This One Hit a Million in 3 Days, Same Learnings, On India’s Republic Day (News-Jack)

 

Video Marketing – Q & A

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One hour of crazy typing, awesome questions and a vibrant group. Prateek Shah organised a Video Marketing chat on Facebook recently, and the rapid fire questions made for a very energetic afternoon :) The event link is now an archive of sorts with questions and answers about video marketing. From review of a video, to best practices to ROI, we covered it all. Check it out

Few questions asked in the chat

Q: Are there platforms other than YouTube and Facebook, that brands should seriously focus on for promoting video content?

Q: What is the difference between video marketing and video blogging? Are they same? How can they be used in b2b business/lead generation?

Q: Can you share some key case studies which gives a great perspective on how a growing brand leaped ahead just by following a strong video marketing strategy.

Q: So I started this ecom startup and am on a very tight budget. How do I go start with DM to let the people know about everything. Get some sales and create awareness!

Q: We build multi author blog, we are trying to promote multi host video channel. What no of volumes we must aim at to promote the Expert?? (I mean how often videos should be released and total no of videos)

Q: How can we generate website traffic with the help of video content?
(It is for marketing of events not for a product)

Q: How do you measure the success of a video marketing campaign? What do you measure?

Q: Does having product videos on product page help more than exclusive videos on Youtube page for an e-commerce company?

Q: What are the best practices to control cost while promoting a brand through videos and to engage audience?

Q: I’ve made a video for my app marketing, according to all the rules and guru research. I made it very short, crispy, informative and what not. I still am struggling to understand why is my video not getting good response? Can you throw some light on it by quickly taking a look at it?

Q: At what stage one should focus on Video marketing in a startup. Should it be done parallel or keeping in view the kind of engagement it demands, done at a later stage. Sounds basic, but just in case your experience can throw some light on this.

Q: How to do marketing in youtube?

Q: Which is the best platform for video marketing? Facebook or Youtube?

Q: Does Instagram video marketing work in India?

Check out the answers :)