GoPro might have the best brand content around

When it comes to filming yourself skiing or skateboarding or base jumping or driving race cars — pretty much doing anything you’d want to capture with high-definition action footage — the GoPro camera is usually the go-to device to strap on. And it is thanks to its active, content-creating user base that GoPro has been able to create a successful branded content strategy.

GoPro started as a pet project by Nick Woodman, the brand’s founder and CEO. At just 26, Woodman took a break from the working world after his gaming and marketing company Funbug went bust in 2001, and he went on a surfing safari. It was on his travels that he realized he wanted to come up with the perfect wearable camera to capture his wave-riding adventures.

He created the first prototypes that year, and by 2002, he founded GoPro. Fast forward 10 years. In 2012 alone, GoPro sold 2.3 million cameras — at anywhere from $200 to $400 a piece — according to Forbes, and today, Woodman is a billionaire. GoPro also just announced it is filing for its IPO. Part of what has helped make the GoPro brand so well known has been the wealth of GoPro content, from both users and the brand itself.

GoPro’s video content strategy hinges on showcasing its users’ GoPro footage through features like “Video of the Day” and “Photo of the Day,” which the brand shares on its four YouTube channels and across social. Its 1,591 videos boast more than 1.78 million subscribers, and more than 416.6 million views.

The company’s production team scours the planet for beautiful videos for its “GoPro Hero3+ Adventure Series,” which features videos about surfing in Indonesia, for example, or lions in their natural African habitat. GoPro also partners with star athletes like Olympic snowboarder Shaun White and pro surfer Kelly Slater to get them to capture and share their GoPro action footage and share it.

But perhaps the biggest GoPro content coup so far was its partnership with Red Bull in 2012 for the viral, record-breaking “Stratos” stunt that featured Felix Baumgartner jumping from a space pod 128,000 feet above Earth. The “Stratos” video, which includes footage captured on GoPro cameras, is one of the most-viewed branded video campaigns of all time. According to Visible Measures’ “True Reach” metric, which takes into account  viewership from the videos uploaded by the brands themselves, as well views for copies and derivative content like video responses, parodies, mixes, and mashups that are posted by users, the “Stratos” video has gotten 229 million views.

But because Red Bull got most of the credit and attention for that stunt, GoPro just recently revived its “Stratos” GoPro camera footage for a Super Bowl spot in 10 markets, along with an online eight-minute version. Just since this past Sunday, GoPro’s “Red Bull Stratos – The Full Story” video has gotten more than 1.6 million views. The Super Bowl spot has gotten more than 1.2 million views.

According to Visible Measures’ True Reach numbers, the campaign content has gotten a total of 10.3 million views, 16,655 tweets and 330,035 Facebook interactions, making it GoPro’s fifth most-viewed video in under a week.

In case you haven’t seen them, here are the five most-viewed G0Pro videos according to YouTube views:

 1. GoPro HERO3: Almost as Epic as the HERO3+

Views: 28,580,139

2. Fireman Saves Kitten


Views: 19,987,277

3. The HD HERO2: Almost as Rad as the HERO3

Views: 19,966,971

4. GoPro: Backflip Over 72ft Canyon – Kelly McGarry Red Bull Rampage

Views: 16,370,156

5. GoPro: HERO3+ Black Edition: Smaller, lighter, mightier still.

Views: 14,406,017