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How the Vikings leveraged UGC to generate 8M views on Facebook

Winner Spotlight: Believing in Miracles

How the Minnesota Vikings leveraged UGC to capture a historic moment fans relived over 8M times on Facebook

The following interview with the Minnesota Vikings Social Media Team is part of our Campaign Spotlight series, which examines this year’s Hashtag Sports Award-winning work. “Believing in Miracles” won for Best Fan-Generated Content which recognizes the work of an organization to engage their fan base through the creative and effective use of user-generated content.


What unique objective or goals led to the creation of this work?

Disbelief. Utter shock. Astonishment. Whatever you choose to call it, Minnesota Vikings fans had Minneapolis Miracle fever after Stefon Diggs caught the game-winning touchdown during the Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 14, 2018. With phones in their hands and hope in their hearts, Vikings fans around the world captured their emotional reactions to the unbelievable Minneapolis Miracle play. The viral video trend was so instantaneous that the Vikings digital team began compiling reactions right away.

The result was a fan appreciation video for the record books. We created a sharable video that would forever commemorate the unwavering fan support for the Vikings throughout the season.

How was Believing in Miracles designed and implemented with the modern sports fan in mind?

One moment, thousands of cameras. When the Vikings Entertainment Network team decided to make a recap video of the biggest play in team history, we realized that some of the best footage didn’t just come from our own cameras. The most amazing videos came from the phones of fans from around the stadium, state and even the world. The video was one of the few rare opportunities to use fan content to tell a powerful story, and fans have been clicking play and reliving the historical moment ever since.

How did this work achieve effective engagement and what measurable outcomes were delivered?

Across Facebook, we collected 8.1 million views; 80,000 shares; 75,000 likes, comments, and reactions. Twitter collected 965,000 views; 13,000 retweets; 32,000 likes; and 826 comments/replies. Digitally, we accumulated 36,000 views across the website and app.

What new benchmark(s) in fan engagement does this set? How will this work inspire and move the industry forward?

This video is one of the most-watched videos in Minnesota Vikings history to-date. Of course, when you have the most memorable play in team history as inspiration, more people already feel compelled to watch. As the social media team considers different content to create, we are always searching for methods to infuse user-generated content to mimic the appeal and passion that this video was able to convey. We saw a number of comments from fans that stated they had watched the video multiple times which isn’t usually the case for most videos and series that are developed.

What were the challenges you had to keep in mind when creating a campaign built on user-generated content?

Content rights are always a concern when it comes to user-generated content. When we asked our fans to submit videos via social media, we provided a short disclaimer saying the videos would be used in a special way. Another hurdle we have to overcome is in regards to the quality of the video. In this case, video quality wasn’t as important as the authenticity and emotion of the submissions. The raw, unedited nature of the videos allowed us to showcase the true and genuine reactions of our fans in the moment. We didn’t want to manipulate their content in any way – we wanted to celebrate the excitement just as they had captured it.

The video was published cross-platform but received the most traction on Facebook. What role did Facebook play in the overall strategy for this project?

Generally, visibility on Facebook is far lower than the other platforms we publish content to. Because this video was so sensational, people felt naturally inclined to share the video with their friends and family. Because Facebook has taken a video-first approach over the last two years, we knew that uploading the video natively to the platform would yield better results. The “virality” of the video continued to increase as time went on and more fans continued to spread the word on our behalf.

The Minnesota Vikings were one of only 25 inaugural Hashtag Sports Award winners. What does this honor in engagement excellence mean for the Vikings?

Our team at the Vikings puts an unmatched amount of passion and pride into the content we create, so recognition from the Engagement Academy of Sports & Entertainment is truly validating. While it is our goal to be the best content creators in sports, we also aim to be the best, most innovative publishers on the internet. We are already planning a number of incredible social media and digital programs for the upcoming season, and we are looking forward to entering our work into next year’s awards show!

Learn more about the Hashtag Sports Awards which celebrate excellence in fan & consumer engagement, and sign up to be notified when entries for 2020 go live this fall.

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