Social shift sees Gillard go viral

[Guest Blog Post by Kieran Ricketts, ABC News Online - Cross posted from the Google Australia Blog]

How does a piece of powerful Australian political theatre that saw accusations of misogyny hurled across the political divide become watercooler social media buzz the world over?

As with many ‘overnight’ online successes, it’s the result of a long tail of strategic thinking.
The video in question – whatever your view of the politics that surround it – is compelling, polemic and tense.

And it’s had an extraordinary response – over 1.5 million views in less than a week. It has been watched so much that totalling the amount of minutes viewed equates to over 14.5 years of eyeballing – and it has been ‘liked’ on YouTube 15,000 times.

There are no happy accidents involved. ABC Innovation and ABC News Online have been participating in YouTube Partner Events over the last few months and gained some key insights into how we use the platform better.

We know that what we were doing in the past – simply channelling video en masse through to YouTube – was not working. We know people want a selection of video that is ‘watercooler’ content – content worth sharing, content that generates discussion and debate, powerful words and pictures. So we’re looking for that content actively, and putting it where people are – on social media platforms – instead of waiting for them to come to our News website.

The traffic to the Gillard clip comes from a range of places. It was featured on the YouTube front page, embedded by a variety of international mastheads including The New Yorker and played back 57% of the time on mobile devices – a statistic that would have been jawdropping years ago, but is now the status quo. We’ve also been working with our international social media partner Storyful to make content like this available to major international media partners the minute it is available.

 Ratio of likes to dislikes on the video by the countries that viewed it the most between 8 and 14 October (ordered by number of likes)

To get to this position, we not only hinged off the back of some vastly improved technical processes that get crisp, clean video out of ABC News television systems and onto third parties at lightning speed – but also built a YouTube experience that encourages users to find more related ABC News content right alongside what they’re currently watching. We also place it all on a consistently branded YouTube channel. We’re heartened too that more YouTube users have reacted by subscribing to our YouTube channel so they see more of our content the minute it’s delivered.

The raw Gillard vision was available to a number of media outlets. That the ABC has had such a strong reception to this content ahead of other broadcasters is a reflection of our ability to get it online, in the right place at the right speed – a competitive advantage our rolling news focus at ABC News Online and ABC News 24 enables us to really leverage. It’s a coming of age story for us, really.