What is viral video marketing and what are its benefits?
Viral video marketing is one of the most effective forms of low cost advertising. It allows you to potentially reach a huge number of people for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and even online advertising. Cost to reach ratio is significant, especially when the video is a big hit.
One of the things you’ll need to know about viral videos is they can’t really be forced. A good viral video will stand on its own and will be shared organically. This means that your video must be genuinely interesting.
On the internet, every user who has the chance to view your video can always skip it. Unlike traditional TV commercials that people have to view before the show continues.
It is quite hard to pin down what qualities automatically make a video go viral. There are, however, a few pitfalls that will guarantee a video will not go viral:
- Slick advertisement that only aim to make a sales pitch.
- Professional presentations that cannot maintain a user’s attention
- Stale, antiseptic videos with monotonous and uninteresting content
If by some chance these types of videos do get shared they will often hit a ceiling on their number of views. Even if some parts of the video are interesting, an edited version will likely be uploaded and that shorter clip will have a better chance of going viral.
What makes a video go viral?
Marketers and researchers have studied the qualities of videos that have gone over 1 million views. They found out that each viral video had an “emotional hook” that cannot be predicted or contrived. These hooks vary widely but all of them are strong enough to inspirehumor, outrage, amusement, etc.
There is no hard and fast rule on how to get a video to go viral. However, they did find some common qualities:
- Short, around 5 minutes or less in length
- “Fish out of water” scenarios or awkward situations
- Shared ideas and backgrounds of viewers can help videos at the start
- Transcends language, culture and religious background.
- Virality usually starts with a specific group who really like the video and then starts to share it to the general population
If you want to succeed in viral video marketing, you’ll have to remember that anything that feels contrived will likely fail. There are some videos with good production values but they are shared not because of the production value but because of the interest they generate.
How do you take advantage of a viral video?
For the companies that do try to use this channel, here are some of the ways you can ensure your video carries helps you market your product or brand:
- Product placement on T-shirts or cards. A good example is the Red Bull extreme sports series.
- Watermarking is a simple strategy that has worked in traditional TV ads.
- Brand name mentioned as part of the dialog or setting
- Brand name in the Attributions and credits
- Brand Mascot as part of the video.
- Public service videos sponsored by your Brand.
The key here of course is subtlety. As I’ve mentioned earlier, if your video looks like a sales pitch it will never quite catch a wider viewership. People tend to skip videos that try to be pushy with their pitches.