How Cats and Zombies helped me to go viral

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For weeks, AMC promoted the “Walking Dead”-episode of November 4th as the last episode, the show’s main character would appear in. The network fooled its fans with misleading marketing in the past. Characters seemed to die but were brought back a few episodes later. On social media, many fans have been stressing their frustration about using plot for the sole purpose to keep them watching, without new and engaging plotlines. The practice by the network has not been able to stop the decrease of the viewer ratings. Since the episode of November 4th was advertised as such an important event in the “Walking Dead Universe”, I was sure, that it would trigger some controversy. My assumption came true. The main character did not die but will leave the show to get three stand-alone “Walking Dead”-movies. The reactions from fans and the media were mixed.

The “Walking Dead” main Twitter account has over one million followers. Every Sunday, the show becomes a trending topic on the platform. This important episode seemed to be a good opportunity for me to create a meme that could go viral, especially since I planned on spending five dollars in Twitter ads.

To measure my success, I defined these objectives:

  • 700 views of the meme on imgur.com within the timeperiod of 12:01 am 11/05 to 11:59 pm 11/12.
  • 15 new Twitter followers within the timeperiod of 12:01 am 11/05 to 11:59 pm 11/12.
  • 20 likes on my paid Twitter post within the timeperiod of 12:01 am 11/05 to 11:59 pm 11/12.

View post on imgur.com

I only achieved some of my goals. I reached more than 500 views on imgur.com within a few hours, even without the promotion and promoted post on Twitter. In the end, I reached over 700 views. The promotion on Twitter itself was not very successful. My promoted TwitterCard that was linked to the imgur post only got 353 additional impressions to the 157 organic impressions. That is less than some of other posts on my account have. 27 users clicked on the link to imgur. Twelve of them were organic. I did not get any new followers in the postings timeperiode and no likes on my paid Twitter post.

Why was their hardly any engagement with my post on Twitter although I targeted a large audience? I posted the picture the day after the important episode aired. The promoted post went only one week later before the next episode. I expected that the controversy around last week’s episode would still drive some traffic to my post. This might have been a wrong assumption. A better strategy could have been to promote the meme early with money for a longer period of time. The concentration of all my ad money on just a few hours (starting an hour before the new episode and ending the next morning) was not the right tactic.

Twitter Ads from Chris Vogt

A closer look at a social media analytics tool like crowdtangle could addtionaly have helped me to identify the moment, when the “Walking Dead” would normally become an important topic in the course of the week. Next time, I also would try to do more pretesting with different versions of the meme. I think, the template of my meme is very funny and has potetial, but I was not able to find a good structure, so that the meme could be used in different occasions.

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