Skip to main content

Screengrab from a video produced by a group called Invisible Children which seeks to end conflict in Uganda. The video tells the story of a former child soldier and encourages governments to track down and arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony

Screengrab/Invisible Children video

The "Make Kony famous" campaign has reached its stated goal, and even better than anyone could have anticipated: it may be the most quickly spreading viral video ever.

Advocacy group Invisible Children's short documentary tells the story of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, infamous for his use of child soldiers.

The Kony 2012 campaign took six days to reach 100 million eyeballs, according to Visible Measures, a company that tracks the spread and impact of online videos. The video was first posted on alternate video hosting site Vimeo on Feb. 20, but didn't gain any traction until it was posted on YouTube on March 5.

Story continues below advertisement

The previous viral record holder was a clip of Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed A Dream" from reality show Britain's Got Talent, which took 9 days. Most videos, though, required more than a hundred days to reach 100 million.

Visible Measures counted the 74 million views the video garnered on YouTube, as well as its presence on Vimeo and video responses made by viewers. The average length of video responses was six minutes, which Visible Measures calls a substantial time investment on behalf of the campaign's fans.

At 30 minutes, Kony 2012 is by far the longest on Visible Measures' list, which is otherwise populated by music videos and short commercials. The celebrity power that drove most of those other successful viral campaigns was also a big part of Invisible Children's strategy – they quickly got their video tweeted by the likes of Rihanna and Justin Bieber, each with loyal fanbases and millions of followers.

Who watched it? The YouTube version of the video is most popular with female teenagers, men between the ages of 18 to 24 and men in the 45 to 54 age bracket. The video also fuelled a huge spike in Google searches for "kony," but appear to have had little effect on searches for Africa or Uganda.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.