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How LadBaby became the #1 Christmas hit 3 years in a row? Crazy social media marketing (7 min read)

LadBaby – a YouTube lifestyle channel led by Mark Ian Hoyle, a graphic designer documenting his journey „from lad to dad”. His sausage roll-themed songs became UK Singles Chart’s Christmas number one for three consecutive years - 2018, 2019, and 2020. Only Spice Girls and The Beatles managed to achieve the same.

?Strategy & Tools

LadBaby Christmas songs History Timeline


  • Mar 3, 2016 – first video is uploaded to the LadBaby Channel
  • Jun 12, 2017 – LadBaby uploads the first video that goes viral – how he made a lunchbox from a toolbox. It eventually got 1.5 million views. It clearly becomes a trigger for Mark to invest more time into YouTube and try to go viral on other occasions.
  • Dec 14, 2018 – Hoyle and his family release the first charity single. It’s a parody based on of Starship’s „We Built This City” – „We Built This City on Sausage Rolls”. That was the first British YouTuber to to top the UK Singles Chart. It got 75,000 in sales in the first week, and a wide coverage from mainstream media. Today it has 6.3 million views.
  • Dec 13, 2019 – The second charity single is released – „I Love Sausage Rolls” based on „I Love Rock and Roll” (duh), It gathered 3.4 million views on YouTube and 93,000 in sales.
  • Dec 13, 2020 – The third single is released – „Don’t Stop Me Eatin’” based on „Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.
  • Dec 21, 2020 – another version of „Don’t Stop Me Eatin’” is released, with Ronan Keating and Roxanne Hoyle, Mark’s wife. It has 1.7 million views.
  • Dec 25, 2020 – BBC 1 reveals that „Don’t Stop Me Eatin’” becomes the #1, with 158,000 singles sold, 94% of that were downloads and CDs, rather than streams

LadBaby viral videos contest

The LadBaby songs videos went viral partly because they came with a contest. For sharing a picture of the download or the favorite lyric with #LadBabyForNumberOne hashtag, you could win a year’s supply of sausage rolls.

The contest post got 4.1k comments and 1.3k shares on Facebook which must have contributed to millions of reach. This idea was a perfectly matched element of the LadBaby social media marketing.

How did LadBaby become famous – charity

The songs were just a part of the story of the LadBaby social media marketing strategy. For every purchase, all the profit (after expenses) went to The Trussel Trust to support food banks serving for people locked in poverty. That made people more willing to spend their money, especially that the single on Amazon costs around $1.5.

Memes – LadBaby viral videos

The whole songs are memes, quite catchy ones. And what do you do with memes? You share them. You share them a lot. That's why LadBaby viral videos got so popular.

LadBaby social media marketing strategy: raw documenting

The idea and the main focus of the LadBaby social media marketing have been to document the life of a young father and his family, on almost every step of it, in a raw format of smartphone video. The songs were also part of the broader story and making them was a part of a story within the story. This inception works wonders for engagement.

LadBaby growth – community building

LadBaby YouTube channel grew so much because the raw format and authenticity build a strong connection to the audience which eventually becomes also a part of the whole thing. With an engaged community, Mark can do more and get the initial traction for projects such as the parody cover songs. This is, for example, how #LadBaby became a trending hashtag on Twitter.

Hacking the system

UK Charts count 100 streams equally to 1 purchase. All the mainstream artists pursue streams now but if most of the LadBaby community bought the singles, they had power equal to about 10,000,000 streams. Very few artists can beat that but many maintain performance.

LadBaby net worth

The net worth of LadBaby as of January 2022 is estimated at around $1.3 million. It rises constantly from year to year, too. Although he is a popular YouTuber, sources claim his blog to be his main income.

?Psychology

Authenticity Bias

Authentic content and brands seem to be more compelling to the audience. We prefer to watch people who are in some way ‘just like us’ and with LadBaby – that’s a pretty normal family like any other.

Giving in public

Research shows that doing things that we know the society values is important to humans and activates reward mechanisms in the brain. This may be why people are more generous during Christmas–another study argued that if there’s an opportunity to tell other people about a donation, we’re more likely to do it. Here, you had #LadBabyForNumberOne.

Storytelling

Stories were a natural way of learning for ages, and they still get much more attention and get remembered better than plain information.

?Window of Opportunity

There are two main lessons here–getting the songs to the top of UK Charts is just a byproduct. You build communities with authenticity, and you build great results with communities. With an engaged following, you can game many other stuff than song charts.

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