Social Magic: How Psy’s Gangnam Style Beat Justin Bieber on YouTube

SMS Text

How Psy’s Gangnam Style Defeated Justin Bieber and Became the Most Viewed YouTube Video of All Time!

Unless you’re living in one of those countries with no internet, you’ve most certainly seen Psy’s bizarre yet internationally inspiring imaginary horse dance and its thousands of parodies on YouTube. In just 19 weeks since its release, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has today become the most popular video on YouTube with approximately 805 Million views, beating out former champ, Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which held the old record with approximately 804 Million Views over a period of 135 weeks.

It’s a truly remarkable achievement – the social media equivalent of a Lunar Landing! And so today I’ve complied some data (see below for the full study) to help quantify this incredible milestone, and found some incredibly intense social media engagement metrics. For example:

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” versus Justin Bieber’s “Baby”

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” versus Justin Bieber’s “Baby

Is Psy The Next Justin Bieber or the Next Macarena?

While the internet is no stranger to viral YouTube videos, “Gangnam Style” has shown rare endurance for a one-hit wonder. Where other videos are quick to drop off the radar, “Gangnam Style” seems to multiply its supporters with each passing week – the quirky k-pop hit has continued to thrive long after many pundits have prophesized its end – this astonishing achievement has redefined the very notion of viral video success.

The video is set to cross the 1 Billion view threshold in just 3 weeks. Such intensity in social media engagement metrics that I’ve uncovered leads me to believe that he’ll be around for a while, influencing pop culture on a global scale for many years to come.

Viral Marketing Case Study: How Psy Defeated Bieber for Top Spot on YouTube

© 2012 WordStream, a SEM and PPC Management Tools.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Is Psy just a one trick pony or will he still be as popular a year from now? Let me know what you think in
the comments below!

Larry Kim

Larry Kim

CTO and Founder at WordStream
Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. Today he serves as company CTO and is a contributor to both the product team and marketing teams. Larry... Read Full Bio
Larry Kim
Subscribe to SEJ!
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!
  • scallywag

    Then again that might be the clue to racketing up large views on youtube: be outrageous, vulgar, self parodying, over the top, copied and revered/mentioned by people of note and of course as tasteless as possible without offending anyone except for the occasional self pompous fashionista who it was meant to deride in the first place….

  • Maikeru Sazushima

    Though not a Beibs hater (his latest hit sounds ‘well-produced’ enough, haha), My Asian sensibilities lean MORE toward PSY. Saw PSY on CNN Asia being interviewed about his success and he was genuinely humble, to a point self-effacing and found all the hubub about his setting the radio, charts and the web on fire as a ‘big surprise’… hope more pop stars have a little more ‘humility’ and less braggadocio like that of PSY. HE DESERVES it all!