Increasing YouTube Views with a Bit of Controversy – The Avicii Story

Posted on 18. Aug, 2011 by in Stats & Trends, Thoughts

AviciiI am sure people, brands and organisations alike would always say they would like more YouTube views for their videos. Of course there are various methods and tactics you could look to employ to achieve this such as social promotion, embedding the videos on your site and getting others to do the same. However, like most things nothing beats a bit of good old fashioned controversy.

The latest beneficiary of the ‘all press is good press’ theory is Tim Bergling aka Aviici. For those unaware of the story, Avicii, an increasingly popular DJ and producer from Sweden, produced a track called Penguin, that originally sampled Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Having been around for a while now it came back to the forefront with a legal dispute involving Leona Lewis and her music label Syco. More details of the dispute and claims along with the outcome have made the news in the last few days, however, what is the most interesting outcome to me has been the clamber from people unaware of the track to hear it and the result on the number of views of the video.

The Penguin Affect

Take the top 2 results on YouTube for ‘Avicii Penguin’. The official version has seen a rapid increase in views very recently as the dispute became more public:

Avicii - Penguin (Official) YouTube Views

Even unofficial videos such as this version have experienced a significant uplift in views as Avicii noobs want to find out who their beloved Leona has allegedly ripped off:

Avicii - Penguin (Unofficial) YouTube Views

So what exactly can we learn from this from an online point of view? The obvious answer is creating a bit of controversy can help with promotion. I mean everyone likes controversy don’t they? Not always easy especially when you are a reputable brand but it certainly is something you see happen in circles such as the SEO blogging community, which most would argue is purely done for a bit of link bait. However, when something becomes a current trend and if you are quirky enough and can differentiate, you should certainly take advantage if you can; see this riots infographic as an example.

As a digital marketer and one working within the SEO industry there is always the ability to keep on top of latest trends within your industry and aim to use these to your advantage. Admittedly in this instance it is not easy to predict this was going to happen unless you happened to be involved in the production of Leona Lewis’s song but even then it is claimed it was an innocent use with consent. But what you can do in many other cases is anticipate trends, particularly in travel and retail industries, where knowing what is going to be the hot topic is an opportunity for increased exposure. Create material such as videos and news to work to your advantage and don’t forget to promote this socially and through industry contacts. Although be wary about what trend you try to take advantage of, Microsoft have fallen foul of this in the past with the Japanese Earthquake and more recently the untimely death of Amy Winehouse.

The moral of the post? A bit of controversy can sometimes help and if you can’t be controversial but want to jump on a bandwagon make sure you differentiate yourself when you jump on and be a bit creative about it.

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