How did gangnam style go viral online?

The first ever review of the details and tactics behind the music video, Gangnam Style, becoming a viral hit online has been researched and released by a UK based public relations agency.

UK based 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency has written a White Paper agency revealing the results from the first ever industry review into how the music video Gangnam Style became so popular online.

The headline findings were that celebrity tweets were not the driving force behind its initial success, contrary to many industry expert’s beliefs and media speculation, along with the fact that it was clearly a well structured and executed campaign by the South Korean label company behind the song; YG Entertainment.

10 Yetis decided to investigate the planning and brands that drove the campaign as part of its own internal process of learning from best practice and quickly found out that the campaign was a truly organic natural hit with little if any “gaming” (false manipulation) of traffic volumes and online mentions.

Speaking about the research, Andy Barr, Head Yeti at 10 Yetis said,
“This has been a really interesting piece of research and I will admit to being skeptical about the manipulation of the figures from YG Entertainment, but it is really clear that the campaign was well thought out, well executed and we at 10 Yetis doff our cap to Psy and the YG Entertainment team”.

He continued: “{{Many online marketing analysts cited celebrity tweets as the reason behind the Gangnam Style success, but this was clearly wrong}}: celebrity tweets did not happen until after the initial spikes in traffic.”

The research found that the video formed part of a wider business goal of YG Entertainment to push into the US and UK music industry. The company had spent a significant amount of time organically growing an engaged audience, so that when the right song came along, they had a large platform on which to seed the campaign to ensure maximum exposure and a surefire online hit.

The video for Gangnam Style also used a mix of high profile and topical characters such as a dancing boy who had recently captured media attention for his appearances on South Korea has Talent, alongside two well known South Korean entertainers/comedians.

These three characters, combined with Psy’s own successful track record in the South Korean music industry, known as KPop, and the colourful, eye catching visuals of the video meant it had the right ingredients to be more “shareable” online.

The research also reveals the role that wider, international media platforms played in promoting the video, with huge initial spikes coming from coverage on the likes of CNN, Associate Press and Billboard in America.

Celebrity support via tweets came much later into the campaign, although Psy announcing that he was signing to Scooter Braun’s management company triggered another wave of public interest and search/tweet volumes.

The full report is available in a White Paper agency on the 10 Yetis site and is accompanied by a Slideshare presentation, interactive graphic showing key campaign milestones, and a video in which 10 Yetis’ Head Yeti Andy Barr, and Head of Social from sister company talk about the success of the campaign.

To read the full White Paper on how Gangnam Style went viral, click here.

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