An Experiment in Viral Video

I had initially made a 50 second video titled “Thoughts Women Have About Facial Hair, which was in the style of existing formats such as “Thoughts you have in the Shower” or “Thoughts you have when you’re on your period”. After seeing some of my classmates’ videos, which were in the meme format, I decided to use the original video to create a meme version, titled “When you don’t have time to tweeze”, which was 7 seconds long and included just the shaving portion of the video.

I missed my initial planned post timing, so I just posted the link on Facebook as soon as I could. I got a few likes for the video. Then realized that since I had to post on my own Facebook page, I had to rework my posting strategy. As most of my friends and followers are in India, I had to experiment with my posting times to see which would get the most views. Hence, I posted at times that I felt people would be more likely to be on social media in India (IST), such as around lunchtime.

Since my initial plan was to tag Buzzfeed’s LGBT handle to reach transwomen, I decided to tag @ShitTransPosts  (2524 followers) an account that tweets memes on gender and trans issues. I tagged the account on the meme version of the post. I also tweeted the meme version again, while tagging @CauseWereGirIss (1239 followers). Neither of these tweets garnered any engagement. A few days later I realized that No Shave November just ended and remade the video meme with the title, “When No Shave November Ends” and tagged @GetHairy (the official account for No Shave November) with the hashtag #NoShaveNovember.  I didn’t get any engagement with this either. I think the No Shave November meme would have done better had I tried it a few days earlier, when November just ended.

I had some more success on Facebook. All the versions of the video performed relatively well. The first post which I did, which was just a link to the Youtube video got the most reactions and a decent amount of views. I later embedded the meme version, “When you don’t have time to tweeze”. This performed the best in terms of views (248 views at the time of writing), and did fairly well in engagement. Lastly, I uploaded the original video as an embed, just to see if uploading it as Facebook video made any difference in engagement. I had heard that Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes Facebook video, but I didn’t expect to get much in terms of engagement as I assumed my friends had already seen the Youtube video. Yet, the Facebook video did almost as well as the first video in terms of reactions, but considerably better in terms of views, far surpassing the views on Youtube. This confirms Buzzfeed’s strategy for Facebook native videos. Most of my reacts were from India, so it is probable that most of my views came from there as well.

The version that performed the best is the shortest meme version. The varying levels of performance of these video versions confirms 3 things:

  1. Native video performs better: This could be because of Facebook’s algorithm or because it’s just easier to access in app
  2. Shorter content performs better: This could be because people are watching on the go. Another factor could be that mobile data speeds are not fast enough in India, so people would rather not spend time buffering longer duration videos
  3. Memes perform better: This could be due to their shorter length. But I also feel that this could be due to the combination of video, audio and text used in the video, in keeping with findings from media richness theory.

Here are the different posts and video iterations in chronological order of publishing.

  1. First Facebook post with the Youtube video link


When you’re in a run don’t have time to tweeze.

Posted by Alyssa G Lobo on Wednesday, November 29, 2017


 2. First Tweet with the Youtube video link


3. The Tweet tagging a Trans meme account


4. The Tweet tagging a girls’ meme account


5. Facebook post with the meme version as a Facebook video

Posted by Alyssa G Lobo on Thursday, November 30, 2017


6. The Tweet with the #NoShaveNovember version of the meme


7.  Facebook video post of the full length video

Thoughts Women Have About Facial Hair

What to do when you have no time to tweeze?

Posted by Alyssa G Lobo on Monday, December 4, 2017



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