7 Elements of Viral Videos

In the last post, we focused on how online video advertisements enhance brand awareness, increase customer engagement and ad performance.  Whether you want your next ad to be like the Kia Soul Hamster or the T-Mobile Angry Birds Live, the power of viral videos is undisputed.

By definition, viral videos are videos that become popular through sharing on the internet through social media sites, video sharing sites and e-mail.  The appeal of creating a viral video is the possibility of having thousands of people talking about and sharing a video about your brand.

By the end of 2011, the Visible Measures 2011 Social Advertising report stated consumers had chosen to watch video ads over 5.6 billion times.  The same report stats 1 in 12 campaigns drove over one million views in 2011, 40 campaigns totaled over 10 million views and the average campaign generated 765,000 views. In 2009, the average view for a video ad campaign was approximately 460,000.  

So what does it take to make a viral video?   A few good places to start include:

  1. Start with the objective for the video. Is there a message you want viewers to walk away with?  What would you like viewers to say after viewing the ad?  Is there a creative way to achieve your objective by tapping into emotions that are consistent with the characteristics your brand is known for?  An ad that does a nice job of telling the brand story while tapping into emotion is the Dove Evolution ad.
  2. Find a way to grab attention.  What elements appeal to the audience you’re trying to reach?  Humor and spoofs are both effective approaches at grabbing attention.  In 2011, humor ads were the most watched video ad according to the Visible Measures.
  3. Encourage consumers to create their own brand videos.  Doritos anyone?  The Doritos Crash the Superbowl campaign went viral and made Doritos one of the top video campaigns of 2011.  Invite customers to use their creativity to share your brand story.  Authentic, creative campaigns like the Doritos campaign encourage viewers to vote and get involved which enhances sharing.
  4. Don’t be too strong on the brand.  When creating a video, remember the brand is a part of the story but not the story.  You want viewers to feel like they are being entertained, not being sold a product.
  5. Create several videos.  Don’t create just one video and forget it. Consider creating an entire series. Invite audiences to view and share their favorites.  See what ads have a strong following and try to build additional videos that build on that story line.
  6. Be Relevant. A marketing professor at the University of Melbourne, Professor Coker, developed an algorithm to explain why some videos go viral and others don’t. One of the requirements of a viral video is the video needs to be relevant to large group of people.  He states the size of a network and relevant connection points are essential for a video to go viral. Appeal to a group of individuals who share a passion for your topic and you’ll be more likely to succeed.  For instance, the Volkswagen: The Force commercial does a nice job appealing to Star Wars enthusiasts with their mini Darth Vader.
  7. Use creative cinematic techniques. In order to be successful, videos need to grab attention instantly. Creative cinematic techniques can do this. Try filmmaking techniques such as time lapse, fades and stop motion or to add an element of surprise or to make your video visually compelling.

Let Posner Advertising’s award winning creative team create the next break through video for your brand.  To see more of the most popular viral ads from 2006 through 2011, click here.

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