Funny or Die gets a lot of its traffic referred through social networks, as viewers on the comedy site share videos with each other on Facebook and Twitter. But the latest episode of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifinakis, which features comedy superstar (and co-founder of FoD) Will Ferrell, introduced a new social media element into the mix: The video includes a clickable, embedded hashtag in the bottom right-hand corner of the video player.
The embedded hashtag is a bit of magic concocted by the Funny or Die engineering team to help drive traffic from social media sharing, which is a big part of the site’s traffic. While generally unobtrusive — you might not even notice it’s there at first! — the embedded hashtag is a call to action that enables viewers of the video to share it with their friends. Once clicked, it launches Twitter with a link back to the episode and the #btwn2ferns hashtag.
Twitter is just one of many social networks that FoD provides a link to above its videos, along with Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Reddit. The microblogging service is already a top referrer to the site, so adding the clickable #btwn2ferns hashtag is just one way for Funny or Die to facilitate activity that users are already participating in.
In addition to the Will Ferrell interview, the team also added the hashtag to all the other Between Two Ferns videos from the last several years. But the Zach Galifinakis episode is the first — and for now — the only series that is using the new feature. That means that it’s difficult for Funny or Die to truly quantify any lift that the hashtag is giving to the show.
In an email, Funny or Die VP of Marketing Patrick Starzan wrote, “We are pretty excited about the potential of the in-video hashtag in driving usage and overall twitter traffic. Since no one else is doing this it’s the first video we tested in, [but] I expect usage to increase as our users gain more exposure to it.” He also suggested we check out searching for #btwn2ferns on Twitter to see how well it’s trending.