As Barack Obama enters the twilight of his presidency, he’ll go down as one of the greatest orators in history. His “cool factor” seemed to appeal to a wider audience—even if you disagreed with his politics.
So it’s no surprise that Obama’s popularity paired well with tech trends such as the rise of smartphones, web-based media, and the jump to 4G technology.
As people became more connected, viewers also started watching more of Obama’s inspiring speeches, or checking out his witty remarks for quick shots of humor.
And if you search the term “Barack Obama” on YouTube and filter for view count, you’d think that the most-viewed videos would feature Obama himself—given all of his great moments caught on camera. But he doesn’t pop up until the fourth search result.
Why? Because of media powerhouses like Comedy Central and BaracksDubs. Wait. BaracksDubs?
The art of viral video
Fadi Saleh was a pre-med student at the University of Tennessee when he got the idea to make a video of Barack Obama singing over popular music. While he was showering, Fadi couldn’t get a song out of his head and wondered what it would be like to hear Obama singing that particular tune—Rhianna’s “(Cheers) Drink to That.”
So Fadi got to work, splicing hours of video from Obama’s speeches before sewing the words into lyrics dubbed over the music. And it didn’t take long for his first video to catch fire, totaling almost 3 million views. BaracksDubs was born.
His newer videos typically get tens of millions of views, with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” racking up over 48 million views alone—claiming third place on YouTube for the most popular videos featuring Obama. That’s quite a feat.
Check it out:
But President Obama will leave the White House. So after producing 48 Obama mash-ups and building an audience of 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube, where does Fadi go from here?
Planning future content
After Obama leaves office, Fadi plans to do more with the channel and his media company, Spare Time Entertainment. He believes he’s tapped into something special, including a formula for how to make videos go viral.
“There’s a formula for virality, and I think we’ve unlocked part of it.”
Going forward, Fadi will take his newfound passion and three years of in-the-trenches experience, and combine it with audience insights. Because like any online entertainment brand, he’s always on the lookout for new ways to connect with fans and better understand their preferences.
“YouTube is the best place to engage with an audience online, but their tools don’t provide enough ways for people to play a part in the channel. Comments and likes add up to limited engagement on the fan side, and YouTube analytics don’t tell me anything subjective about my followers.”
That’s where Typeform comes in.
Fadi created a survey typeform, linked from both video descriptions and a call to action at the end of each video. This lets him ask his fans what they like about BaracksDubs, how they can support the channel, and gather ideas on where the channel should go after the president leaves office.
According to Fadi:
“I learned that 86% of my fans are interested in seeing BaracksDubs expand to make people other than the president sing. I also learned that 60% of my fans would subscribe to my email list if I had one.”
Better get that email autoresponder up and running, Fadi.
In the meantime, he’s taking all that feedback and putting his best ideas into action. After splicing through thousands of hours of video, this should be a piece of cake. Here’s more on what he learned:
“BaracksDubs is teaching me vital skills on how to build a business. Things like working with people, looking for investors, and pitching to them.”
Connecting with over 1.5 million people comes with challenges. But with a strong product and a sure-fire way to get quality feedback from his subscribers, Fadi can now adapt and pivot when necessary. And Typeform makes the load easier to handle. In Fadi’s words:
“Typeform is becoming a way to have a real human interaction with my fans, and a key to my success as a content creator.”
Indeed. Don’t let a lack of feedback keep you from a product-market fit. Or President Obama’s retirement. Now over to you. What feedback are you after?
How Fadi does it
1) Logic Jump + Recall information
2) Video and images
Any interaction that involves images and video is a more engaging interaction. Gathering feedback doesn’t have to be boring.
3) Custom Thank You screen
Use your Thank You screen to talk about next steps or send people to a page on your website. Keep the conversation going.
4) Custom design + remove Typeform branding
Splash your brand colors on your typeform and remove branding to make it unique.
And of course, let us know if you have any questions! Our team is always here to help.