If you’ve spent any time on our platform so far you’ll have realized we are definitely fans of Storror and how they have grown the first million plus follower parkour brand. While YouTube may be the dominant platform for Storror Blog viral videos nowadays there was one short video clip in July of 2016 during the filming of Roof Culture Asia that convinced everyone in Hong Kong to follow Max Cave on Instagram. If you were on Instagram back then you will remember the clip and story well.
The video went viral quickly reaching several million views across other channels and local news stations, reaching over 300,000 views on Max’s own personal account. Over night Max’s followers rose from about 35,000 to over 80,000. The content became so viral Storror had to initiate its infamous Blackout during the rest of the filming of RCA in Hong Kong so that they would be able to finish the film with minimal police interference.
This period in the summer of 2016 seems to be the time of heaviest engagement to date for Max Cave on Instagram (although he still has the highest follower count of any Storror with over 163K at time of writing this article), prior to that time Callum Powell and Toby Segar had held the highest follower counts at just over 40-45,000 each. The only other period with similar growth in followers was during the launch of Storror’s shoe which earned him another 30K+ followers over the course of a week.
The gallery below is July of 2016 during the filming of Roof Culture Asia, a time when Instagram had just started letting you to post longer than 15 second clips. As you can see his gallery was primarily photos at the time and video was somewhat rare.
The one below that is Max’s gallery as of the writing of this article in November of 2018, where you can see primarily videos in feed and barely a photo in sight, oh how times change over the course of social media.
If you can remember long ago there was a time before Instagram allowed native video posting to its platform – well this story isn’t quite that far back but if you happen to scroll through Max Cave’s Instagram Gallery back to this point in time you can see a great example of how posting behavior changes for social media accounts over a long period of time.
If you look at it from a simple algorithmic perspective this video went viral because it was able to penetrate a localized audience which then catapulted it to a worldwide audience off the backs of those more established platforms plugging his post (UNILad and DailyMail). Obviously that’s easier said than done or else we’d all go viral every time we post a POV on the rooftops of Satorini.
It’s hard to predict when and where a piece of content will go viral on the internet in terms of parkour, muggles seem to enjoy watching fail videos of parkour more than they do carefully calculated roof strides like this one in Hong Kong. But Storror exposes an important truth about the overnight success myths on social media.
Sometimes you just have to send it.
You have to be doing interesting things in order to go viral at any point in time. You have to make people feel a certain way when viewing your content: amused, elated, angry, scared, sad. If you can direct the audience emotion and the other signs from the social media algorithm gods are favorable then you’ve the recipe you need for viral video success.
But most importantly you have to work hard, smart and often to get even close to an opportunity as grand and spectacular as Roof Culture Asia. Surround yourself with the right team and the right values and maybe one day we’ll be writing about you.