Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Gangnam Style: Why It Would Have Been Impossible Ten Years Ago
Posted on February 25th 2013
What do Googler Eric Schmidt, Miss Universe-Philippines 2012 and rapper MC Hammer have in common? All these people have been spotted doing the Gangnam Style dance in public.
I bet many are sick and tired of Gangnam Style by now. Even PSY said he’d never perform the item in the United States again, as the country had had "too much" of it.
But, pop fluff apart, what can we marketers learn from this viral marketing success story? Was it to be expected? Would it have been possible 10 years ago when YouTube was non-existent?
Turns out, many critics compared Gangnam Style to Macarena. Without reading any of the critique, I thought the same. But would Macarena get over 1 billion views if in the 90’s the market conditions were similar to the ones we have nowadays? In fact, I think that could have been the case.
How I came to know about Gangnam Style
Just likePatrick Murphy who wrote "3 Things PSY Taught Me About Second-Hand Social Media Shares", I was pretty late to Gangnam Style. And, if it weren't for the media people mentioning it all the time, I probably would never have noticed the music video.
What made it go so viral? Well, we can now engage in the chicken-egg debate and say that it went viral either because high-profile celebs had noticed it, or because the video had the potential to get noticed - such talk would be of little use.
A more important (and useful) task would be to dig into what provided the basis for the success of Gangnam Style, and whether another such happening could be possible in the future.
In my view, Gangnam Style was like a fit of lightning that lit the present-day Internet landscape, revealing the potential its ecosystem had accumulated over the past 10 years. And, what made Gangnam Style happen was the following:
1. User generated content
No doubt, Gangnam Style provides plenty of space for parody and piggybacking. Promptly, Gangnam Style parodies popped up in different parts of the world, the language being no barrier at all. And this was largely facilitated by the fact that anyone and their dog can generate web content nowadays.
Probably the first video about Gangnam Style uploaded in the Western Hemisphere was "PSY Gangnam Style MV Reaction" by Katie and Mindy Anderson. And the earliest Gangnam Style parody was done by Simon and Martina Stawski (a Canadian couple living in Seoul) of EachYourKimchi.
So, user generated content was what really helped Gangnam Style sprawl into so many world regions, including some nearly impossible-to-penetrate s areas - North Korea and the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Besides, the tidal wave of Gangnam Style parodies is still big! I've just checked the web for new remakes of the record-setting music video and have discovered that "NASA Johnson Style" is trending at the moment.
Here is me listening to social media talk via BuzzBundle:
2. PSY's rumored waiver of copyright
Another factor that helped Gangnam Style take over the world was PSY's reluctance to press legal charges against the people who used his song to make parodies. I think the artist's stance on the copyright to Gangnam Style has really worked like greasing oil for the item’s speedy take-off.
Besides, YouTube nowadays does a great job handling messy lists of videos by the same name. Every time I checked, PSY's original music video from his official channel ranked first or second for "gangnam style."
In my opinion, the fact that the original version of the video was easy to find most of the time was also of importance: first, this allowed for easy views count tracking and, second, it provided the best possible experience for those who wanted to watch the vid.
3. The mobile web
When one hits the Statistics button right underneath the Gangnam Style video, a mostly curious fact is revealed: out of the video's 1.25 billion views, 438 645 781 were from mobile devices. That's more than one-third of all the views!
Take a look for yourselves:
A lot has been said about the mobile revolution, and I can only repeat that the mobile Web is predicted to take over the stationary Internet by 2014. But, as you see, mobile is a huge power already. And, but for the mobile Internet, who knows - maybe Gangnam Style would be enjoying only 814,239,671 views by now.
So, what conclusions can web marketer make from the success of PSY's viral video? I'm thinking the following ones:
- When creating content, make sure it provides space for piggybacking, copying, remakes - in a word, do something different that sets the trend.
- Encourage your audience to interact with your content - people get inspired when they can take an active part in the process. If you think about it, most uber-viral campaigns were interactive: from JibJab's Christmas Elves to the Old Spice man responding to the users' tweets on YouTube.
- Optimize your content for mobile – this segment of the web simply can't be ignored anymore.
The new possibilities
Even though the Gangnam Style video did set a new benchmark for viral marketers, the record will probably be beaten in the future. The web is getting bigger, the world is getting smaller, and the speed and the scale of engagement is likely to get much greater in the future. And then, only the sky will be the limit. Happy viral marketing!
UPDATE: As this post was being prepared for release, The Harlem Shake, a new Gangnam Style-esque viral video, appeared. See the tendency? ;)