Pushing the “Viral” Button


Creating a viral video is easy. Step 1: Be Justin Bieber. (Or a really cute cat.) Step 2: Make video. Step 3: Post video.
For the rest of us mere mortals, it’s not so easy—especially if you’re a school bus manufacturer. Double-especially if you want to talk about school bus safety.
Since we couldn’t just push the viral button, we pushed the envelope. Rather than creating a traditional video for Thomas Built Buses, we partnered with YouTube funny guys Bored Shorts TV, who have a huge following among kids, teachers and parents. The video covered the basics, communicating safety rules and reinforcing Thomas Built Buses’ position as a leader in school bus safety and innovation. Then the video chalked up brownie points, pulling in some serious extra credit for Fun, Engagement and most of all, Results.

In a month and a half, the video received more than 170,000 views (at this writing: over 200,000 views), driving more than 46,000 people to the Thomasbus.com/safety landing page, with an average on-site time of over three minutes. Facebook and banner ads promoting the campaign saw a CTR of 1.27% (that’s more than 31 times greater than Google’s display benchmark of .04%).
Unique visits to the Thomas Built website jumped over 175%, and more than 1,100 schools across the country downloaded safety information from the website to share with their students and teachers. In addition, organic SEO search on YouTube for “school bus safety” placed the video on the first page, ensuring even more success in the coming years. The Thomas Built Buses Facebook page also saw an increase of over 1,000 new followers.
It was an unmitigated success for our client and a great lesson in the power of trying something new. Plus, we all got to learn about the horse rule on the school bus. (Who knew?)