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Harlem Shake Bigger than Gangnam Style

21 March 2013 BY

The popularity of certain virals has always been a mystery to me. How does a video of an inane lone dancer waving his arms about oblivious to the surrounding crowd, followed by said crowd freaking out and going nuts to the sound of a catchy beat, suddenly become one of the most popular phenomena of recent online history?

I’m talking of course about the Harlem Shake.

On the off chance that you haven’t come across this delight of internet memeness feast your eyes on the below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRRUxAccoN0&w=630&h=360]

I say on the off chance, the latest Hitwise data shows that in the last four weeks 5% of Harlem Shake searches included the word ‘what’ indicating that there is still a significant number of people who haven’t come across the viral craze yet. The most popular search variations demonstrate this perfectly with the third most popular search term for the Harlem Shake being ‘what is the harlem shake’.

Harlem Shake search terms

What surprised me is just how popular Harlem Shake has become in a very short space of time. In less than two weeks it managed to surpass Gangnam Style’s highest peak of search traffic – accounting for 1 in every 1600 searches in the UK for the week ending 23 February 2013.

Harlem Shake vs Gangnam Style

From the look of this chart, Harlem Shake is not likely to enjoy quite same longevity as Gangnam Style did last year, but it did receive 24% more searches at its peak than any single week of Gangnam’s dominance. So Harlem Shake may well be a flash in the pan but that flash has proven exceptionally bright.

What remains to be seen is how future music virals will fare. Will they enjoy the lasting success of Gangnam Style, or are all such virals now doomed to attract the attention of the craving online public for a few brief moments before rapidly fading into obscurity?  The problem is, unlike most internet trends, there is no predictable pattern with virals and therefore it’s anyone’s guess what will happen with the next big thing. I have written in a number of posts about the benefits and perils of trying to predict the internet, with virals I think it is easier to say we just know.

Until next month.

AUTHORED BY:
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James Murray is the Digital Insight Manager for Experian Marketing Services. In this role, he communicates the value of Experian data and insight through PR, thought leadership and speaking opportunities which help to drive customers’ multi-channel marketing strategies.
  • http://twitter.com/gnosallis Juke Box

    It’s the most searched online but in life you still hear gangnam style on the radio, pretty much everybody in the world of all races, class and jobs, normal to famous, old and young dances gangnam style. The Harlem shake video is already hated and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Don’t hear the music anywhere else either other then the 30 sec clip.

    • http://www.facebook.com/000K084 Philip Matthew Gonzales Rosale

      so right! :))

  • http://www.facebook.com/000K084 Philip Matthew Gonzales Rosale

    it doesn’t even have a step :)))