Gracie The Golden: By The Numbers

There are days when we post a video that we’ve spent weeks planning, filming, and editing and it flops.

Then there are days when Ashley comes to us with a video of a dog catching snowflakes and it goes viral.

November 7 was one of those days.

Sweet Gracie the Golden was just a dog doing dog things when her owner captured her snowflake curiosity on camera. Little did she know she’d become an Internet sensation, spreading joy to the hearts of millions. Now our all-time top post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we’ve learned something important from Gracie the Golden: the Internet is unpredictable.

The Perfect Formula?

There’s no perfect model for creating viral content. There’s too many variables that feed off one another to really know how or when a piece of content is going to spread like wildfire, but Ashley’s blog post this month features several ideas about why this video went viral.

When the first snow comes, people talk about it — with a mix of both love and hate. Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue, and the snow was on people’s minds. A cute pup catching snowflakes was a convenient way to slide into that conversation and give people a reason to share the video with a friend. On top of being relevant to a trending topic, Gracie is also relevant to our brand. She was treated as a patient in our nationally recognized Vet Hospital and is now doing just fine, as you can see.

One For The Record Books

What happened after posting the video was unexpected. Word of Gracie’s shenanigans spread and spread and spread. The likes just kept comin’.

As it stands today, the video is now our all-time most popular piece of content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (edit: turns out, people like corgis). Below are visuals demonstrating just how widely the video spread.

The post itself reached 20,020,870 unique users.

This year to date, the average amount of unique users who see any content associated with the Colorado State Facebook page over a 28-day span is 1,827,069. While we’re proud of that number, we’re blown away by the reach of this singular video. The monthly reach for all posts in November skyrocketed to 20,397,478 unique users.

If every single person reached by this video comprised a U.S. state, that population would surpass New York as the fourth largest state in the U.S.

I track monthly post impressions on a regular basis to help us understand how frequently the posts we create are being seen. As expected, the impressions also rose dramatically. The year-to-date average is 4,242,027 impressions. November, though? 41,470,704.

It’s hard to define a social media return on investment, but this right here is what I’d consider a return. The power of social media is this: We invested absolutely nothing toward this video, but the brand we represent was able to generate 41,470,704 impressions in 28 days simply because social is powerful.

Most Importantly, People Engaged

I’ve written before about the myths of Facebook Reach and how the metric alone is not enough to indicate success. But in looking at the number of engaged users compared to total reach, there’s a stark correlation. The November numbers calculate a ratio of 1 engaged user per 12.61 people reached (1:12.61).

We love engagement for a variety of reasons, but we especially love how it factors in to the Facebook algorithm. We’ve learned that shares are weighted more heavily than reactions and comments — a good thing, because Gracie’s video received 126K reactions, 51K comments, and 173K shares. Over 1.6M people have now indicated to the algorithm that they have a potential interest in what CSU posts due to their engagement with the page in November.

Gracie Was Popular Across Channels

If Gracie had only been successful on Facebook, we’d be left to wonder what factors led to its popularity. Seeing the way it grew to become our top post on Twitter and Instagram as well, we know that the content itself is what drove its success. On Twitter, we had never before had a tweet reach the 100,000 impressions milestone. This tweet currently sits at 267,845 impressions with

5,296 likes and 1,418 retweets. On Instagram, the video has been viewed 25,294 times with 9,335 likes (for context, the average likes per photo during the previous month was 3,120).

Some popular social media pages also shared the video:

In looking at the data, we’re overwhelmed by the way this video performed — and we’re thankful for that. But most of all, we’re grateful that Gracie spread a moment of joy across the Internet and we were able to be along for the ride.


To learn more about Gracie’s video on CSU social, read Ashley’s blog this month.