“spreadability,” an alternative to “viral” marketing and communication. Spreadability
stresses the active choice of individuals and networks to pass along content
they find socially meaningful, while the viral analogy describes media circulation
“in which people become unknowing carriers of powerful and contagious
ideas which they bring back to their homes and work place, infecting their friends
and family” (EIMO, 2014)
Television, film, and recording industry executives all work in a universe
in which they know full well that more than 80 percent of what
they develop and create will fail commercially. The key problem is that
they don’t know which 10 to 20 percent might actually succeed. So,
while it is painful from a resource-allocation standpoint, the strategy
has been to produce far more creative goods than might succeed and
then see what works. (Lotz, 2014)
This video was made with the target audience in mind of Reddit users and just being a generally weird video that has a humorous quality to it that viewers could find funny and not take seriously. I had hoped that the audience would share it between their social network sites and up-vote it on Reddit . The video was hosted on YouTube and then shared in Reddit forums (Funny and Food subreddit). It was uploaded on the 13th November 2014 and has a total of 36 views to date. The comedic value in this video is the use of alternative kitchen utensils to cut up a banana and how there is frustration by mashing the banana up also.
The video was not designed to go viral or be shared all over the world due to it's niche market of reddit users; It plays on humour that isn't main stream and is unpredictable. The main inspiration for the video came from YouTube video 'How to shave your leg' from Dalle, which has over 114,000 views . This video also has a weird sense of humour using unconventional ways and just straight up strange, bridging on psychopathic behaviour to create a mess that your mother would cringe from watching, whilst giving her the urge to clean the house. I believed my video to be a smaller scale of this video as I didn't have the budget or willingness to clean the apartment after setting up such a laborious story of wreckage. Therefore I didn't expect to see as many views if this had proven a successfully spread video. In hindsight this style of video was not particularly current as it had seen a peak in its fame previously. I did however feel that for nostalgia and humour reasons that the video would do well with the target audience of Reddit users, however this can be a very hit or miss place on the internet and again is unpredictable.
The video was shared on social platform Facebook and posted in Reddit forums, with the video being hosted on YouTube. You can see that the peak of views was on the day of release as the initial release aired on Facebook with the second spike of views being due to it being shared by a friend to their Facebook friends. The other two spikes in views (around 20/11) were due to it being posted on the Sub Reddits and was evidently hardly a hit at all. Due to the target audience being Reddit users, Facebook generated more views. Although I received private messages from friends commenting on how they thought the video was funny, I would say that this type of video is a gamble. In this case it was a complete loss. I would personally refrain from making such videos in the future. Due to the filming/editing time taken to produce the video being longer than the amount of viewing time generated by its audience, which was less than 10 minutes.
There is a tail off towards the end of the timeline which also suggests that this type of video has a short lifetime. Factors which could have helped it's spreadability would have been having an established audience to share it to, as I did not and therefore this could have been why it performed poorly.
The video was made with the intention to make a hit with what was trending on social networks. For instance at the time of release I knew that when the 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' TV show was aired on ITV then the show would have trending hashtags worldwide on Twitter. In this particular episode it was going to cover the departure of contestant Gemma Collins who had been a rather outspoken contestant to date. The video also has a reply from Bob Geldof, the actual clip was taken from an interview on Sky News which was also a high profile news story that was already spreading globally at the time. The two were put together and the outcome is the video above.
I realised this content would be found by an audience because they are actively looking on social media. The video was again expected to have a short popularity period though due to it only having a small amount of time when it was trending, a few hours during and after the show being aired. This gave me enough opportunity to spread my video online, hopefully having a higher view count than the previous video and seemed a safer bet.
The video was tweeted with appropriate hashtags and as you can see in figure 2 it received it's peak amount of views at the time of it being tweeted and also had some views still for a few days afterwards as it may have still been of interest to those watching catchup TV and maybe as the story of her leaving the jungle populated some headlines. Even though the video had performed as I had expected, it didn't quite match up to my view count expectations as only 55 views at it's peak is not a large amount when put up against other videos which have spread around the internet. A reason for this could have been that there were a lot of Meme's or pictures circulating around twitter at the same time which had a lot of comedic value to them and were hosted on twitter. This meant that when scrolling through the timeline of the hashtag on twitter, these pictures could have been seen straight away. In regards to my video, it would have been clicked on and then loaded inside YouTube. This delay or chance to dismiss viewing the video due to buffering, could have been the reason why my video was not as popular as I'd have expected.
I found a post giving statistics of what users are more likely to interact with and it showed that 96% prefer pictures on social platform Instagram. There has been a popularity of short video's of recent with the introduction of Vines (My video was too long to be turned into a vine unfortunately), however there was still a higher interactivity rate for photos. In turn more interactivity would produce a wider audience for my content and therefore I looked into how the use of Instagram could produce better interaction than videos. My Instagram account has since noticed an increase of interaction with my newest post due to the better use of hashtags.
This video took a very different approach to the other two. Instead of creating content with a short lifespan I gave a thought as to why spreadability could be useful to me. I wanted to do attract traffic to my business website, therefore I wanted to create content that would relate to my business of music recording, mixing and producing. I needed to engage the community that would find my website and services useful. Therefore I realised that a tutorial video could be the answer. No longer would it have a short lifespan of viewers due to it always being relevant as it is an instructional video. I could promote the video to Facebook groups, forums and also YouTube would promote it by suggesting it to viewers of likewise videos by using relevant tags.
My target audience being Undergraduate students studying Audio production or of similar courses or the bedroom producer/enthusiast. The tutorial shows how I create a professional sounding mix of a drum kit that I personally recorded, using just the stock plugins that come with Digital Audio Workstation ProTools. They could use this as a reference or a point of interest to improve their own mixes or compare techniques. There is an online community wanting this type of tutorial with a popularity can be seen by typing in YouTube search 'How To EQ' for example. Numerous online forums and groups are talking all about these type of subjects and I wanted to bring my own ideas to the table.
I found the process of making the video harder than anticipated as I ran into a hurdle of not being able to route my voice and music mix to be recorded onto the video, therefore it has taken longer to produce. Finally I got things underway and after numerous takes I found a way to relay the information I wanted to in the video.
As you can see in figure 4, my video over the past 4 days has only risen in popularity gaining more views per day. The current view count stands at 175 views and looks to only increase its view count everyday if it follows the trend of this graph. Videos of this nature such as 'Mixing Drums Magic With Only EQ And Compression' from TheRecordingRevolution.com has gathered over 32,500 views in 6 Months. If my video performs as well as this I would be ecstatic however to be realistic this is all about gathering a following to my online digital identity and so far this video has succeeded.
- 217 Visitors to the blog via my Bit.ly link on the Facebook Group
- 1 Visitor to the blog via my tweet
- 49 visitors to the blog via a sharing of my blog post
- 84.8% of viewers had visited my website for the first time
- 15.2% of viewers had visited my website before
- 39 visits came from Brazil
- 49.88% used Google Chrome browser to access
- 64.13% used a desktop to access
- 35.87% used a smart phone or tablet to access
- 59% was the average amount of time watched of the YouTube tutorial
From these statistics I can cater the next content I post to my website so that I can optimise the appeal to the type of visitor it attracts. For instance my content must be viewable on Google Chrome clearly as this browser is predominantly used. Also it is the desktop version of my website that people prefer to look at, therefore it suggests that the mobile version of my site could need to be improved.
Due to my tutorial blog post helping to attract an 84.8% new viewers to my website compared to only 15.2% returning then this is an indicator that this type of content is attracting an audience which I had not capitalised on previously and therefore is a great way to attract more visitors.
Another interesting statistic to me is that on average only 59% of the video was actually watched which suggests that I could probably half the amount of content or time of the video to keep the attention of the viewer better. This doesn't surprise me as the video is almost 16 minutes long and therefore a shorter more to the point approach to the delivery of content would be taken next time to improve the engagement of my audience.
I would say that this type of video is a success for me personally as it has achieve a much higher amount of visitors to my website and has definitely surpassed my expectations for only four days of being uploaded. Even though it is not thousands of views, I believe that this type of content would steadily increase throughout time, therefore outweighing the other two videos due to its usefulness, high quality information content and lifespan.
Something that must not be ignored is that the Facebook group post was shared twice by other members too, the Facebook group is called Waves Audiophiles. The reason why my post attracted so much attention was due to it showing that you don't need expensive plugins to create a great mix and discouraged from using Waves plugins. This became a big talking point and received over 20 comments and was trending at the top of the group. The group has over 11,000 members and therefore gave the blog a great advertisement. This is the only time that my artefact was actually spread further than the posts that I had created myself. This leads me onto my conclusion...
So have I been particularly successful in spreading my media? To sum it up in one sentence I have to say no. The reason being is that I only ever managed to have my content spread from my own community of social media followers via two shares from Facebook users. However, I was definitely successful in creating spreadable media content that largely created a higher awareness of my website than it had previously received, so I had success.
Due to the reception my three videos have been given, it is obvious that the third performed better and was useful to the promotion of my website with more views and shares than the other two put together. The reason not fully being the actual video itself but the content that was created around it such as the blog post and discussion on the Facebook group which attracted attention in turn to my website. Therefore this has shown me just how important it is to create references to my video through other forms of media. Due to my findings I am likely to create further YouTube tutorials to grow my audience and subscribers through that platform and I will also then blog about each tutorial and post that through social media sites to ensure that traffic is directed to my website and YouTube videos. I believe that given time my YouTube tutorial following will grow in popularity itself but to give it the first push of exposure, blog posts have really been a great promotion tool.
This could suggest that videos are not particularly the greatest form of spreadable media, as I have seen that pictures and blog posts can be more effective first hand and as mentioned before there is other research to show that 96% of users on picture and video hosting site Instagram prefer photos.
Another reason why I believe the third video was more successful was due to the quality of information that it produces and also the discussion around the subject. It was not just a 10 second gag, it contains useful information that could be relevant to the hobbyist looking to improve their skills or even to an undergraduate student. Therefore the video has more weighting to it and longevity to attract a return of viewer as a reference video. The viewers are also more likely to then pass the link on and discuss it over social media networks. Analytics show that 14% of viewers of the video came from searches on YouTube and therefore I know that there is an audience looking for my video without me promoting it.
In reflection of my findings I am glad that I have tested the waters of how content spreads. By using what David Kolb (1984) describes as 'experiential learning' I have found that by experiencing it first hand with my own content, it has given me a deeper understanding and experience of how I can create spreadable media and use it to attract visitors to my website.
To summarise these points, in my opinion are key to creating great content for my website:
- Know the target audience
- Produce high quality information content
- Relevance to being current or staying current
- Finding out what type of videos are popular for the platform it is being uploaded to
- Have an original quality to it and not repeating many other artefacts alike
European Institute for Media Optimization (EIMO). (2014). Transmedia Branding [Online]. [Accessed 15th December 2014]. Available at: <http://www.eimo.org/bilder/transmedia.pdf>
Jenkins, H., Ford, S., Green, J., (2013). Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture: Spreadable Media. New York: New York University Press.
KOLB D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall (0 13 295261 0)
Lotz A. D. (2014). WHAT OLD MEDIA CAN TEACH NEW MEDIA [Online]. [Accessed 10th November 2014]. Available at: <http://spreadablemedia.org/essays/lotz/#.VI85qGSsX9s>