Going viral is every marketeers dream. Everybody wants to hit the “Have you seen this?” jackpot because, let’s face it, nothing beats free advertising.
But what does it take to create the magic that makes everyone and their Grandma hit “Share”?
First of all, remember a high number of views is not the same as going viral. Views can be bought through savvy promotion and advertising budgets. A viral video creates today’s “water cooler moments” by being talked about offline as well as on, and the truly great ones cross over into the zeitgeist. Some of the original viral videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger” or “David After Dentist” are still being quoted and mimicked over 10 years after they were first shared.
While there’s no perfect recipe for a viral promo, here’s 5 things that must be in place to get those views racked up, and then maximize the exposure.
1) Hit Them In The Feels.
Connecting with people’s emotions is absolutely key if you want to make a lasting impact. People need a reason to share something, and that reason is always going to be emotional.
It’s either got to make you laugh really hard, make you spontaneously burst into tears, or be so insanely beautiful that you just can’t keep that beauty to yourself.
I add the qualifiers for more than hyperbole. There are a lot of funny videos out there, stacks of sweet tear-jerkers, and whole instagram accounts dedicated to the beauty of the world; a viral video needs to have one or more of these things as well as…
2) A Compelling Story.
The Best Story Wins. Every time. The proof, if you needed one, is all over Instagram, with “Good News” accounts gaining millions of followers.
And you can’t fake it: We’re all familiar with click-bait and people know all too well when they’re being emotionally played.
With a promo the story could be the honest and relatable reason a company has started, the story of someone or something that is in the same field as the company, or the difference a company or product has made in someone’s life.
While everyone loves a story about personal triumph, few actually use it. Australian Media guru, Dr. Karen Nelson-Field did extensive research on the science of sharing:
“When a video included a creative story of personal triumph, it was shared more than other creative devices” (including baby/young child, animal, and dancing/singing)….
She added, “Interestingly, despite being a more applicable creative device for ensuring sharing success, personal triumph is rarely displayed in viral video content. In our sample of 800 videos, it appeared in less than 3 per cent of all videos.” She concluded, “Personal triumph therefore represents the best opportunity for marketers.”
3) Hide The Brand, or Make It Great.
People don’t like feeling sold to, and many will smile-and-skim-past an obvious Ad.
Companies have often chosen to put art over recognition, like this year’s Superbowl ad from Toyota. This told a story that bore little link to their brand, outside of its support of the Paralympics. Always stayed closer to home in 2014 with their “Like A Girl” campaign which, by highlighting something that struck a chord with all women, has been watched over 69 million times on YouTube.
If you’re going to be obvious about the product or brand you’re promoting, it’s got to be REALLY good.
While looked down upon by many in the marketing industry, two “talking head” campaigns – where someone is looking to the camera telling the viewer information about the company – stand out in my mind.
Dollar Shave Club launched itself into the stratosphere is a low-budget concept that combined humour, story and personal triumph in their 2014 ad that dropped the F-Bomb, but won over every post-pubescent male that watched it.
And then there’s Old Spice. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was a work of creative genius that totally relaunched a fading brand for a whole new demographic.
4) Back It Up:
To maximise the reach of a great video you also need a great marketing plan to surround it, and a great website to welcome your new customers.
DollarShaveClub.com is an example of how to do things properly. Within a day of the video going live, they had over 5,000 paying customers sign up. Why? Because they had a website which was designed to convert visitors into customers efficiently.
The worst thing to happen would be if you get a million clicks through to a 10 year old website that crashes on impact.
5) It’s All Luck.
Finally, remember what we said at the beginning; there is no perfect recipe for viral video success. The right share by the right person on the right platform on the right day is the X factor that can’t be taught. But if you put all the pieces in play… you’re in with a much better chance.
Which is your favourite viral video? And why did it make you want to hit share?
We’d love to help you take your business to the next level with story-led, beautiful and shareable content. Contact Nadus for more information.