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Simply Summer Social Awards Contestant #2: The #ALSIceBucketChallenge

Simply-Summer-Awards-BlogWhich brands won summer 2014 on social? You get to choose. 

From now until September 24, we’ll be blogging about five brand’s killer summer campaigns, according to four social influencers and our very own CEO.

You can vote by clicking the button at the end of each blog post, which will send a Tweet detailing your choice from your Twitter handle. We’ll use those Tweets and our software to keep track of your votes.

Votes will be tallied in real time right here, so you can check in on the award standings whenever your heart desires. There’s no limit to the amount of brands you can vote for, so be sure to check in with the blog regularly to see who’s being featured and what #winning looks like.

The #ALSIceBucketChallenge 

Kim-Garst-headshot-4Forbes top 10 social media influencer, consultant, CEO of Boom Social, and Simply Measured friend Kim Garst chose the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as her favorite campaign of summer for its altruistic sensibility and impressive viral spread. 


Was there anyone who didn’t see an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video? This campaign was extremely successful and innovative, in the sense of it’s shareability. People took to Facebook, Instagram, etc. and nominated their friends to participate in this “fun” challenge. This led to a huge surge in reach and engagement, as celebrities took the plunge as well. Not to mention, it was for a good cause!

What Is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? 

The Ice Bucket Challenge spent its summer encouraging nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads, then nominating others to do the same. Acceptable hashtags to use when nominating others were #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge, and #StrikeOutALS.

Usually, nominated participants had 24 hours to comply or forfeit by donating to the ALS Association. As of September 16, 2014, the ALS Association has received $113.6 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations.

The roots of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge were planted long before the ALS Association’s mega-popular campaign took flight, associated with other causes in an informal fashion —  but it was the people impacted by ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” a progressive neurodegenerative disease) who really made #ALSIceBucketChallenge go viral in mid-July. From George W. Bush to Kermit the Frog, it seems like everyone’s gotten involved.

How It Worked 

The most active social networks in the campaign were Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

On Twitter 

Folks took to Twitter to show they completed the challenge, and nominate other handles.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 10.34.40 AMOften, Twitter users cross-promoted to other networks by linking to YouTube videos, Vines, Instagram videos, and Facebook posts of challenge completions. Another trend was posting behind-the-scenes Twitter photos of the Ice Bucket Challenge completion process.

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On Facebook 

Facebook users participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge in a similar way that Twitter users participated, posting their videos and tagging people to nominate them.

On Instagram

Instagram users often completed their Ice Bucket Challenges on the visual network, then shared them on other social networks.

The ALS Association keeps a real-time Instagram feed on their site, featuring users who are taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.

On YouTube 

Many brands, especially media entities and celebrities, used their Ice Bucket Challenges and generous donations to ALS as a publicity opportunity. YouTube was a popular social network for these brands, especially since they already had active channels there.


According to Facebook, between June 1 – September 1, more than 17 million videos related to the Ice Bucket Challenge were shared to Facebook.

These videos were viewed more than 10 billion times by more than 440 million people.

On Twitter, The New York Times reported, people mentioned the Ice Bucket phenomenon more than 2.2 million times between July 29 and August 17.  The campaign really took flight in mid-August, as you can see on this chart which tracks Twitter mentions from July 1-August 31. 

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Source: Simply Measured

But, lest you think that the campaign wasn’t cooking before August 19th or that its heat completely cooled by September, take a look below. This logarithmic chart gives us greater insight into the flat areas of the chart above. Each line on the vertical axis represents ten times as many mentions as the line below it.

Source: Simply Measured

This shows us that even during flat-line periods in the chart above, as many as 10,000 mentions of the relevant hashtags were made. That doesn’t look like a lot compared to the 1,000,000 mentions made at the campaign’s peak, but it’s still incredibly significant.

The logarithmic chart below also highlights that even by the end of August the conversation was keeping up at a significant rate of about 100,000 mentions per day.

Summing It Up 

The ALS Foundation’s Ice Bucket Challenge campaign received a lot of help from celebrities and high-profile public figures in going viral. It got everyone from local government organizations to Britney Spears involved, and it raised an incredible amount of money for ALS research, despite early concerns that it was all flash and no substance. A campaign that goes strong for two months, and counting? We call that straight-up social media success. 

Vote for the #ALSIceBucketChallenge Campaign!

View Results Here

Want to learn more about measuring the success of your own cross-channel campaign? Make haste. Download our new whitepaper The Five Essentials of Cross-Channel Social Media Measurement today.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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