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What makes a video go viral?

Web Bureau

02 November 2010 by Web Bureau

Viral marketing is similar to traditional advertising campaigns. Like TV or magazine ads, online videos need to be controversial, original, inspiring or entertaining to grab attention and provoke the desired reaction.

But there is one big difference. It is not enough for viewers to notice, like or titter quietly at a branded video online. Viral marketing only works if viewers make an effort to share the clip. This means they must identify with it enough to let online friends and associates connect them with the brand or message.

Not an easy goal to achieve! But the rewards of a successful viral marketing campaign are so attractive that branded videos are currently receiving huge investment. Getting it right means access to a hand-picked target audience. And research shows that viewers are more likely to watch a video to the end if it is recommended by a friend.

Of course there is no fail-safe recipe for success. But there are guidelines for getting it right.

1. There are three main driving factors that will make people want to share a video:

An Emotional Response
People often feel compelled to share experiences that have affected them emotionally. A video will make an impression on a viewer that has been moved by the content and sharing the video is a way of acknowledging that impact.

Identifying with the Content
Social networking profile pages reveal a lot about an individual, not only in terms of what they like but how they want to appear. If people can identify with the content of a video or they want people to think the content reflects their personality in some way, they are more likely to share it.

Passing on Information
Nuggets of information that are presented in an easily digestible or memorable way will often be shared. People feel that they are providing a service in passing on important information to their friends. Remember the impact of the Dove Evolution video?
2. Make sure it is easy to share the video. If it is not immediately obvious how a video clip can be reposted, people will lose interest very quickly.

3. Don’t become lost in the masses. YouTube may be the most visited video site but there are many others, such as Vodpod, Devour and PopScreen which rate videos according to popularity.

4. Do your research. Find out which sites are most likely to precipitate viral activity before you post. Think about who you want to watch your video and which sites they are most likely to visit. When is your target audience most likely to share the videos they watch? Changes can also be made when your campaign is underway. Examine what is working and what isn’t, then alter your strategies accordingly. 


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