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A Content Experiment Which Broke The Internet

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! 

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

“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 🙂 

Here’s The Video


And Here’s The One For Republic Day


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 🙂

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You can ASK AASHISH anything on Content, Video & Viral Marketing on trh! #ASKRODINHOODERS

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12 Comments

  1. dude – are you on STEROIDS?!!!

    man oh man! you keep breaking your own records!!

    many congrats aashish – this is really CRAZY!

    ps: loved all your learnings from the trenches!! keep rocking. does aloke know how lucky he is to have you??!! :)))

    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” 

     

  2. LOVED it. Loved the last slide (Call to action the MOST)

    BOSS – PLEASE PLEASE help us with Koimoi.com

    How can I reach you? Please mail – alok@rodinhood.com ?

  3. Loved your video “India got Swag”. loved the “India got Jugaad” bit.

    Keep on doing the BEST. 

    Honestly, I did not saw the other one 🙂

  4. Brilliant stuff dude.

    Here’s the call to action: I am happy to offer beer/ coffee. You said ixigo, I assume you work from the Gurgaon office?

    The ask: content marketing for Guru and Me ; a mission to help 100 million people break away from stress and live meaningfully.

    I am at: paritosh@paritoshsharma.com

    Thanks in advance!

  5. paritosh – aashish has a special ASK AASHISH PAGE on trh where he answers q’s of rodinhooders 

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/ask-aashish-stuff-on-content-video-viral-marketing

  6. Thanks Alok 🙂 emailed you

  7. Thanks Gunjan 🙂

  8. Thanks Paritosh, yeah we can meet over coffee sometime in Gurgaon 🙂

  9. This is SUPER AWESOME!!

    Thanks Aashish for sharing your learnings. Look forward to your book that is coming out. All the best!

  10. Super !

    Loved it !

    Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Quick question – do you have a correlation to business conversions? What happens because of these videos? Do you a noticeable jump in traffic and more so conversions?

    The reason I ask is that we had very similar success with games2win social media pages & people LOVED the posts but never visited.

    On komoi facebook page (1.2 million organic fans) each post gets massive engagement but we have to still figure how to bring them to the site 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/koimoidotcom/posts/10153531029402672

    I will call you anyways to discuss 🙂

  12. Good question Alok, the CTA button of the Facebook page makes the conversions happen IMO. We saw 20k app installs in the first week of this video. With share-worthy content, brand becomes part of conversations when content numbers grow, and that helps, coz it’s not just site traffic but app installs which is a different eco-system. Conversions on this particular case blew my mind though 🙂

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