View counts in online video are still suspect, plagued with all kinds of accusations about view buying, autoplay, gaming the system, you name it. So when it comes to not so easy task of measuring just how to measure how popular a web series really is—especially if you’re an advertiser looking to reach an increasingly fragmented online audience—it all comes down to engagement.
Buzzwords like ‘engagement’ are of course as rampant and overused as they come these days, with few web series actually able to demonstrate just how directly connected they are to their audiences. Dane Boedigheimer and his wildly popular series The Annoying Orange just might have the most engaged fans of any show online.
With 286 million views and counting, and the 11th most subscribed YouTube channel at 1.25 million, it’s already head-turning how fast Orange has shot into the elite web series of all time. The channel started on YouTube less than a year ago—January 11, 2010—which also takes top honors for the fastest growing of all time as well. own personal YouTube channel (daneboe) is no slouch either, with 627k subscribers and 282 million views to date.
But behind the astonishing numbers on each episode, all of which easy crack into the multiple millions in view counts, lies a core audience that seems to be hyper-connected even beyond the weekly episodes. Case in point is a recent fan photo submission contest that Boedigheimer ran on the show’s Facebook page late last month.
In just over six hours the LOLorange picture contest had received over 25,000 submissions from fans, so much so that it maxed out Facebook’s ability to hold any more photos on that page.
“There was some kind of cap on the amount of pictures you could upload to Facebook apparently,” Boedigheimer told us, “and after those 25,000 submissions, no one could upload to the page anymore.” Acting fast, he set up a separate Gmail account to capture another 7,000 submissions in the following few days, and brought in “hundreds of thousands” of new fans to the Facebook fan page, which now stands at just under 4 millions fans.
“The audience is fantastic…very loyal,” said Boedigheimer of his fans. “They’re also very vocal about things that they think work and don’t in the series. It’s fun to come up with new ideas and see how they will play with the fans. I think one of the reasons that people come back time and time again is because the show is extremely relatable. Everyone knows someone that is sort of like Orange in some way, and everyone has also been annoyed in their life.”
“Watching people get annoyed by something/someone is funny,” he added. “Look at cartoon characters in the past – Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Pepe Le Pew, etc…a lot of their humor came from being annoying. It’s a fun proven device to play with.”
TV Show in the Works?
With rumors circling around town about a TV deal in place for The Annoying Orange, I asked Boedigheimer for the latest on it. “Yes,” he confirmed, “the scripts for the TV show pilot are being finished right now, and we will begin to talk about production schedules soon. It’s really exciting!”
Let’s just hope that this currently-unnamed TV network realizes just how loyal these fans are, and not to let the whole engagement side of things fall into their marketing staffers.