Much like SEO, the social media landscape is an ever evolving one, and 2015 saw Facebook reach pretty much an equal footing with Youtube in terms of influence over video views. Additionally, with Facebook (rightfully) getting stingier to content which isn’t resonating with its perceived audience, creating a viral video is becoming ever more challenging. In this blog our video production team take a look ahead to what you can do in the upcoming year to improve your odds, as lets face it, getting millions of views on your corporate video can never be a bad thing.
Firstly, we need to consider the measure by which we judge virality. Blindly using the view count as the gauge for a corporate videos success can be misleading, more and more this is simply an indication of the marketing budget rather than the success of the campaign. Now we should note that having a promotional budget is an important factor in gaining traction towards a viral video, but it can often skew the figures of the view count. A far more reliable indication is the like to dislike ratio on Youtube, or the number of shares on Facebook. As we know, reach is important, but engagement is what you need to convert potential customers into actual customers. So what was the most shared video of 2015? Well, interestingly it wasn’t even in the top 10 most viewed, although it’s probably not much of a surprise that it is an advert for Google’s Android, Friends Furever. However, if you look beyond the power of the popular brand to the content of the video itself there is a lot of insight into how to maximise your chances of creating your own viral video in 2016.
Common traits of Viral Videos
An important factor is length; shorter is generally better. Although it’s not a deal breaker to be over a minute, as we shall see with some of the other examples we will discuss, it certainly seems to be generally better to be under. We all know that holding attention is difficult when there is so much other media to be consumed, but just grabbing that attention in the first place is the real key; people are simply more likely to give your video a chance if it is shorter.
Remember also that your goal is to get shares. Shorter videos are quicker to watch and easier to share. Aim to encourage engagement too, and not the standard type of engagement you might be looking for with your corporate videos, where you are converting someone searching for a specific term into a loyal customer. The engagement you are after is comments, likes, and shares, which will come from the content itself.
As always, content is king, and although there is no magic bullet as to what content will go viral, there are certainly tried and tested methods which will improve your odds. Upbeat or positive messages not only account for the vast majority of viral videos, they will also generally have a better long term impact on your brand. An incredibly successful campaign was First Kiss by fashion brand Wren, and although it is minimally branded it still increased sales by over 13,000%.
The minimal branding is an understandable decision, as people are increasingly sceptical of advertising or sales videos, but there is currently no evidence of branding appearing in a video affecting its chances of going viral. The important factor almost always is that the content itself be uplifting, life affirming, hilarious, or useful. Mirabeau Wine certainly delivered on the latter with their life hack for opening a bottle of wine using a shoe, and the overkill on branding seems to have done little to stem the tide of shares.
Although this obviously isn’t going to be an exhaustive list of viral videos, there is one more style that I think deserves a mention, and that is parody. Subverting an already popular style or brand is a great way to piggyback on that popularity, and creating a funny parody, especially one which resonates with a contemporary issue or popular belief, can really gain traction from the familiarity that comes from that. A great example of this is the Ikea corporate video, done in the style of a well known technology company also famed for its minimalism.
In addition to these considerations there are some other things which are important to get the ball rolling. Keywords are still important, especially on Youtube, but more than ever now on Facebook too with their updated search algorithm. Targeted promotion is also still important, and you are likely to need some sort of budget to help you build the initial momentum into a viral video. Remember, the more people engage with your content on social media, the more reach it will have, so the aim is to target those that will like, comment, and share your video. If you’ve got all the other ingredients right, this initial promotion could potentially pay for itself a thousand times over.