I jokingly referred to it as 'the kiss heard round the world.'
Appears as if I wasn't that far off.
If you don't know what I'm referring to, I'm talking about when a 5-year old fan hugged Texans star J.J. Watt after practice on Sunday, and then decided she wanted more. The girl, later identified as Sylvie Rose of Lake Jackson, TX, swooped in and planted a kiss on Watt's cheek, leaving the 300 pound defensive end surprised and blushing. The moment, caught by sheer luck by the Texans TV crew (Jay McDevitt and Deepi Sidhu) was perfect, and left nearly everyone saying 'awww' after they watched it.
Due to Coach O'Brien's post practice press conference being outside this year, we had to adjust the way we live stream the event. On that particular day, Coach O'Brien finished rather quickly, and left Jay and Deepi stuck with a live camera and nothing to film.
So, Deepi started narrating the scene on the air, and Jay followed her around as she explained what was happening. Deepi saw Watt off in the distance interacting with fans, and she decided it would be cool to share that with our fans. When they got there, Jay set up the camera on Watt. A short time later, the kiss happened.
Sometimes it is all about being in the right spot at the right time.
As of yesterday evening, that video had been viewed over 145,000 times. It is the second most watched video in history of the Texans website, trailing only another J.J. Watt video, this time the star getting 'schooled' by a fan before a game last season. You can see that video here or to the right.
There is a common theme in these two videos. They are both natural reactions between Watt and the fans, and gives a glimpse into how both interact with each other. I knew once I was told that we had this video that it'd be a huge hit, but the way it exploded was interesting and shows the true power of social media when it comes to content going 'viral'.
Using the software Chartbeat, we are able to see not only how many fans are on our website at a given time, but the exact pages they are looking at and how they got there. I've called it a Bloomberg terminal for websites, and it makes you feel like you are trading stocks, not running a website.
Knowing we had the exclusive on this, we (myself and Integrated Media Coordinator Jesse Clark) huddled and took a little time to craft the text for our social media posts. We debated the image that people would see associated with the video. We had several choices to pick from.
Originally we were leaning towards the image of the actual kiss itself, but at the last minute we went with the one below. We just felt Watt's reaction was priceless, and better explained the moment then the actually kiss. Jesse came up with the 'that face you make' line, and from there, our social media post was born.
Once that tweet went out (and a Facebook post shortly after), the video exploded. Below is a look at our concurrent web visitors in the moments after the social post went out. Mind you, the video had actually been on our website for about 30 minutes, but the content didn't truly 'explode' until we put it on social media.
See those dots? That's the video.
I know what you are thinking.
Eric, of course a video of J.J. Watt kissing a 5-year old young lady is going to get watched a lot.
Yes, that is true. But, again, how the video went 'viral' was truly unique.
When it comes to our history with 'viral' content, it always involves the video (or story or photo) being picked up by other outlets. The extra visibility from those websites boost our totals, allowing us to reach people that don't normally come to HoustonTexans.com.
But, that didn't happen this time.
Perhaps it was because NFL Training Camp was in full swing, or because it somehow got lost in the shuffle, but no other outlet noticed or linked to our video. People were watching, in huge numbers, but they had no 'help' in a traditional sense. Nearly six hours went by before someone noticed and wrote something on it, and by then, the video was already well past 70,000 views.
So, how did the word spread?
The way it always does (for the most part). Social media, and mainly Facebook.
As of yesterday, our Facebook post has 'reached' 2.57 million people, which is more than the total fans that follow us on the platform. 'Reach' is Facebook's way of measuring the amount of people that see a piece of content. For those not familiar, posts from business pages on the platform don't automatically reach all of their followers anymore. Facebook, through the use of algorithms, essentially filters content, trying to better serve what you the user are interested in seeing. Despite us having 1.9 million followers in that space, very rarely do we see posts 'reach' one million of our fans. It just doesn't work that way anymore.
However, this time Facebook drove the bus. Even today, nearly 48 hours later, the majority of people still watching this video got to our website from Facebook. That's pretty amazing. Twitter and Reddit deserve credit as well, along with referring sites like Bleacher Report and Battle Red Blog that ended up linking to the video later that day. By the time everyone was aware of it, the video went to a record breaking level. It was really fun to watch.
A day after our original post, the video was everywhere. It has been featured on the NFL Network, Fox Sports 1 and countless other digital websites and TV stations. Like I said, if you haven't seen it, you are probably in the minority.
The power of social media should never been underestimated.
Because when it came to J.J. Watt's kiss, Facebook took it from the city of Houston to around the world.