Newfoundland (in ten days): A Viral Success

Had I known the video I cut of our vacation across Newfoundland would be seen by so many people, I may have left out the part about making Mr. Noodles, using the hotel coffee maker, without a shirt on…

Aside from that slightly revealing scene, I think many fellow travelers and Newfoundland natives connected with the ground level, first hand perspective of our travel video. To me, it was a pretty typical excursion, getting “screeched in”, visiting popular destinations like Signal Hill, Cape Spear, and Gross Morne Park among many others. Basically we hit as many sights as we could in 10 days, but I believe it was that typical experience, with a bit of our funny antics, that struck a chord with people, propelling the video into viral success.

Within one week the facebook post had reached over half a million people. It had been shared over 5,000 times, viewed approximately 240,000 times and received over 500 comments, all of which were positive. Most notably, it was shared and tweeted by the official Newfoundland & Labrador tourism page and we were featured on the MUCH travel blog Far and Wide.

The video is just over 3min and contains 214 shots. That is an average of less than 2 seconds per clip. It is fast moving but the only way to fit as much as I could without the video being a full 1hr feature. And trust me, we had more than enough footage for a feature.

In case you haven’t seen it, here it is for your viewing pleasure:

So what was it that made this video more shareable than others? Up to this point, the most my work had been viewed to any viral extent was 13,000 times. I didn’t even obey the first rule of digital marketing which is keep it short. So what was it about this one that made it so popular?

Here are my thoughts and take away from the success of this video:

    1. I gave other businesses and people a reason to share. Don’t blink because you might miss them but featured in the video are several local businesses from breweries to cafes as well as international brands like ford and adidas. This was a bit of a strategic move on my part in the beginning, just to get the ball rolling. When I posted the video I made sure to tag those businesses in the hopes that they would share it to their followers and indeed most of them did. Some of them also tagged other pages involved in Newfoundland Tourism which helped even more.
    2. Travel is a big part of it. There are 3 kinds of people in canada, Those who live in Newfoundland, those who have been to Newfoundland, and those who want to visit Newfoundland. Well maybe not exactly, but I found those were the 3 largest groups that were leaving comments on the post. The largest response was from Newfoundlanders and I think a lot of it was recognizing places, and experiences… and that leads us to reason #3.
    3. It was relatable. One comment in particular I believe summed it up completely. Someone said: “This is the most realistic tourism video I’ve ever seen”. Unlike most tourism videos, I was focused on our experience right down to the very senses. As much as the scenery was breathtaking almost everywhere we went, I also captured the small things like touching surfaces, drinking beer and wine, to the point where you could almost feel, taste and smell the same things we were. And to me I think these are the more relatable experiences because as beautiful as drone footage is, I the tourist will never see a destination from that perspective.
    4. It left you wanting more. “The clips move too fast” was a fairly common comment. Not to be too harsh but I feel it is important to note that that feedback seemed to come only from an older demographic. Despite the comment, it didn’t stop people from watching it and I think it’s because they really wanted to see more. In other words, the one negative actually worked in its favour because you didn’t want to miss anything.
    5. It worked without sound. Now this is a facebook marketing tactic that I did adhere to. How often do you watch videos on facebook without sound? Probably more often than you realize. 82% of viewers watched my video without sound. That’s why when it comes to facebook video, It is imperative to try and catch someone’s attention in the first 3 seconds and be able to hold their attention without sound on. So subtitles and visual storytelling are huge. That would also explain my main demographic as the video started with the title “Newfoundland (in ten days)” and shot straight into recognizable locations and landmarks, and you didn’t need sound to follow along.

 
So what is my takeaway? Basically this video that I created for fun, more than anything else, serves as a great case study. The learning I have gained from this experience will go into every other client project moving forward in the hopes that we can recreate that viral effect. Before this, my bar was set at 13,000 views, now my sights are set on clearing that achievement of 240,000 views. And wouldn’t you want that to be your brand? I mean who doesn’t want, a huge increase in Page likes, engagment on a national or even global scale, plus a huge spike in website traffic?

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