Have you seen your timelines lately? Anything new, any content being shared multiple times?
For any social media network dashboard, you can see thousands of content being shared by your friends or the people you follow. Sometimes you cannot even keep track of everything that is being shared; but every now and then, there is that one video that becomes more than just content is being being super-shared. It becomes a meme and a pop culture reference for a long time, people will even make their parody of it, and you just know that this video will be remembered for as long as people can reference it.
What is it about these videos? Viral videos have a very diverse nature, it could sometimes be funny, or other times it is emotionally gripping. This is the reason why marketers are not only encouraged to adapt to new digital marketing techniques and strategies like video marketing, but also to churn out creative content that can become viral. Of course the entertainment value helps it become viral, but if you think about it, the people who share it are what drives its virality.
Viral videos are more than just its entertainment value, because not all entertaining videos become viral. Here we will talk about what a viral video is and what elements make a video viral.
What is a Viral Video?
The words “viral video” is being tossed around these days, but nobody knows exactly what it means and what constitutes a viral video. There are videos out there that have so many views but are not exactly considered viral, so how many views does it need to have? What about shares, for how long do people need to talk about them?
Too many questions for a seemingly simple subject. Let us discuss them further.
Number of views
In an article written by Kevin Nalty, or known as Youtuber nalts, he once said that a video is considered viral if it has a million views. But he updated that saying that a video is viral if it hi 5 million views within 3-7 days. If you think about it, his updated definition makes sense. The only reason a million hits was such a big deal before was because making videos is not as common as it is now.
But with high-tech camcorders, smartphones, and other recording devices it is now easier to record even the most personal or funny moments with friends and families and automatically share it with the world (surprisingly, these kinds of videos can become viral).
Take the Double Rainbow video which has now garnered more than 43 million views. It was a moment of pure bliss, it was personal, and he recorded it so he can share this amazing thing that he sees. Because of his viewership, it is considered a viral video. But more than that, it also gained a lot of buzz on social media.
A lot of people are talking about the video
Of course, it could not have had a lot of views if it did not generate a lot of buzz. Video shares is an important part of making a video viral, or at least it is one of the markers of a viral video. In the same article, Nalty says “Part of what makes a video “viral” is not just the views but the degree of discussion online and offline (media). Here we get into a “chicken and the egg” issue, since the video’s viral nature may prompt “coverage”, which inspires even more views”.
Let us use the same video example: the main reason Double Rainbow even got attention was because Jimmy Kimmel mentioned it in a tweet, and from there so much buzz has been made on social media.
When the parodies start coming
Another marker for a videos “virality” is if people made parodies of them by re-mixing, re-cutting, and re-creating your videos. Not only is the parody shared a million times over, the original video gets viewed ad shared even more. After the Double Rainbow got everyone’s attention, Youtuber schmoyoho took this chance to create a very catchy, autotuned song version of the video and now a lot of people are singing it!
It becomes unforgettable
It has been years ever since Double Rainbow was discovered, and we still reference it to this day. That is an important factor in the virality of our videos” people should be able to remember it for a very long time.
So now that we know what a viral video is, let us see how we can make one.
The Secrets of Viral Videos
There is a little confusion with viral videos when it comes to marketing. Some people think that if they can create an entertaining video they can just put their logos everywhere on the video, heavily marketing their product sacrificing the story or narrative of their video. Well, in that case you are trying to make a promotional video and not a viral video. But this confusion is something that we can avoid as marketers if we keep these viral video secrets in mind.
Create an original narrative
As marketers, or anyone who is making a living out of the benefits of the Internet, storytelling has been one of our buzzwords. Indeed, a solid narrative in our videos is an important way for us to catch the people’s attention. It shows our flexibility and originality in terms of how we want to promote our brand. It does not even need to be a made-up narrative like the Evian Baby & Me ad. Take, for instance, this Red Bull freefall video ad with Felix Baumgartner, it is a real project that they worked on and sponsored; it is original and it is record-breaking. Of course, you do not have to do a stunt to make your video narrative work, just like what the Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise (a video made to promote the film Carrie) has shown us which is a prank ad.
You just need to be original, or if that cannot be achieved at present, be able to spin a story where you can easily see what the video will be about.
Video provokes an emotional response
With a solid narrative comes an emotional response, it is what drives people to share it in the first place. Whether it is anger, happiness, or sadness make sure that your video gets an emotional response from your viewers.
We can use Psy’s Gangnam Style as an example. The video became a viral hit, and not only that, Psy became one of the most famous and celebrated Korean artists because of his humorous and unique songs and videos ever since. People shared the video because they thought the dance was hilarious, and from there became one of the most memorable songs of 2012.
At the moment, anger is not something you might want to risk especially if you are a brand that is just starting out. But humorous and inspirational themes, as well as educational, are what you can play with; and it has shown good results in terms of virality.
Not too overly promotional
If you are a start-up company, this viral video project will probably be the first time most people will hear about you. Because of this, your video should be able to show your brand’s personality without selling it too hard. What people do not like the most these days is a marketer shoving their products to viewer’s faces. So let us try to dial it down a bit, but be careful not to sacrifice an important opportunity to show who you are. Just strike a balance, like what DollarShaveClub.com did with their video ad.
Promote it like there is no tomorrow
Share, share, and share it some more. Post it on all of your social media sites, publish it on your website, just everywhere you can post it. The best part about being marketers is that we have avenues to share our content other than the usual social media networks, so make use of them.
So go on ahead and create a storyboard, think about the emotion you want to invoke, make sure that the entertainment value and its promotional purpose is balanced out, and then share it with everyone else. Pretty sure you will have a viral video in no time.