Micah Sifry’s post last week about YouTube metrics got me thinking about which videos produced by the campaigns have been viewed the most on YouTube. Following is a list of Dem Presidential candidate videos that have attracted more than 200,000 YouTube views. I’ve excluded YouTube spotlight videos, since they tend to attract a ton of views no matter the candidate/quality of the question.

(1) Hillary Clinton: I Need Your Advice (627,335 views)

Clinton asks for help in picking her campaign song.

(2) Hillary Clinton: Pick My Campaign Song Take 2 (337,366 views)

Follow up to video #1 above that is a mash up of responses sent in by users.

(3) Barack Obama: My Plans for 2008 (334,261 views)

Video in which Barack Obama announces the formation of his exploratory committee and discusses his rationale for running.

(4) John Edwards: Ann Coulter on Good Morning America (294,280 views)

Video of Ann Coulter saying she wished John Edwards’ had been killed by a terrorist assassination plot.

(5) Mike Gravel: Campaign Finance Reform (275,855 views)

A video posted by the Gravel campaign in response to a leftover question from the YouTube debate.

(6) Barack Obama: Opposition from the Start (239,822 views)

Clips of Obama over the years expressing his opposition to the Iraq war.

(7) John Edwards: Hair (230,784 views)

Viral video produced by the Edwards’ campaign in response to the notorious Feeling Pretty video. First aired at the YouTube debate.

(8) Bill Richardson: Job Interview (208,210 views)

Viral video that highlights Richardson’s qualifications for the Presidency.

I’d classify these videos as follows:

  • Numbers 1, 2, 7 and 8 (50%) are your classic viral videos put out to draw attention to the candidate/attract page views/raise money. They are heavy on humor and not issue oriented at all.
  • Numbers 3, 5 and 6 (37.5%) are more issue-oriented videos, but have viral qualities all the same. The Gravel campaign smartly piggy backing off the YouTube debate to get some attention. The first Obama video piggy backed off the media coverage of his announcement while the second potently explains the difference between Obama and the other Dem front runners on Iraq.
  • Number 4 (12.5%) is a rapid response video that was distributed widely by the Edwards’ campaign as part of a fundraising pitch.

I don’t really have a big point here, but I think anyone who reviews that list sees that successful YouTube videos don’t just come out of nowhere. They are the result of good planning/production and smart timing. In other words there is a real strategy to being successful on YouTube.

Fred Thompson Disclaimer 

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.