How Ryan Gosling, Dove and Space Oddity went viral: Twitter hunts for formula to web success


Going viral on the internet is a goal for all brands, but is there is secret to becoming a web sensation? This week, Twitter examined three big viral video hits - actor Ryan Gosling 'refusing' to eat cereal, astronaut Chris Hadfield singing Space Oddity and Dove's Real Beauty marketing campaign to demonstrate how internet buzz spreads. Twitter produced 'dynamic visualisation' videos to show how the videos went viral, using different coloured dots to show how they spread on the social network.

Twitter UK's Gordon Macmillan wrote in a blogpost: 'One of the key things we learned from looking closely at these three is that videos don’t go viral in the same way. There are no rules to “virality” — while some ignite, and spread like wildfire across the web, the growth of others is much more measured, like ripples spreading across a lake.'

Describing the visualisations Macmillan wrote: “The blue nodes represent Tweets; the bigger they are, the larger the potential reach of that Tweet. The yellow dots represent retweets. In each case, reach takes into account not just followers, but also audience size and amplification by retweet.”

Dove’s Real Beauty powered by ‘clusters of communities’

According to Twitter, Dove's Real Beauty Sketches video – which came with its very own #WeAreBeautiful hashtag – Twitter were "largely driven by a long tail of link-sharing and by positive audience sentiment" growing through "clusters of communities spread around the world".

Interestingly the Twitter video shows there were less spikes caused by influencers mentioning the campaign, which instead spread in clusters of communities, demonstrating the value of local engagement.

The video showed less burnout than the others, and there were also fewer influencer-induced spikes. Instead, conversation existed in clusters of communities spread around the world — showing the value of local engagement — and highlighted the good use of a digital outreach programme.

Space Oddity- a short-lived hit

Commander Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity' aboard the International Space Station spread around the globe. According to Twitter, more than 90 percent of shares took place in the first three days after Mr Hadfield posted it, demonstrating that it is possible to have a real word-of-mouth hit

According to Twitter, more than 90 per cent of shares took place in the first three days after Hadfield posted it, demonstrating that it is possible to have a real viral hit by word-of-mouth.

The link mentions peaked fast and were driven by 'global influencers' but the video was first shared by Hadfield himself, demonstrating the sustained growth was driven by one man's efforts.

It is thought the song proved so appealing because of its unique origin and was therefore far more popular than videos filmed on Earth.

Ryan Gosling’s cereal- a Vine seeding success

The creators of the 'Ryan Gosling won't eat his cereal' video was seeded with only a small handful of top vine influencers to go global.

It was made using video clip tool Vine, collecting a series of six second clips of the actor being offered - and refusing - cereal in a dramatic way.

The videos were then seeded with key influencers within the Vine community to ensure the videos went viral and spread in a similar manner to a breaking news story.

The videos, created by @RyanWMcHenry, were carefully seeded with key influencers in the world of Vine such as @BestVinesEver and @VineLoops. This ensured that the videos went viral quickly, echoing the online journey of a major breaking news story.

Gosling's cereal videos were shot using Twitter's Vine app, and became popular when they were "carefully seeded with key influencers" like the Best Vines Ever and Vine Loops accounts on the social network.

The success of the Gosling viral points to the power of effectively seeding your content with the top influencers and how if you hit just a small number of those it can in some cases go global.

View the full Twitter blog here

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