The keys to creating viral videos

by Sam Melton on 2013/11/14 · 4 comments 15,753 views

in e marketing 101 social media trendwatch,great guest posts

CLICK - Word of Mouth - is your blog content going viral?

3 questions about viral videos

  • What are the key ingredients to making a video “shareable?”
  • Who is winning the viral marketing arms race and why?
  • What role does social media play in word-of-mouth marketing and whether a video goes viral?

Please answer my questions at the end – We need your feedback!

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ComMetrics - CyTRAP Labs - guest blogger - Dane Cobaine - THANK you for a great blog post.A while back we had a post addressing why most videos don’t go viral.
Now, Sam Melton details three steps that explain the keys to your video campaign’s viral success.

The Key to Creating Viral Videos

In early September, the video for Miley Cyrus’s new song “Wrecking Ball” was posted on Vevo. In just 24 hours, the video had a record-breaking 19 million views. And now, the video is well on its way to 300 million views.
Cyrus is an extremely popular musician, and the “Wrecking Ball” video generated a lot of buzz in the weeks before its release – so it’s not surprising that it did so well. But the video’s record-breaking success also proves that online videos provide an avenue for marketing that wasn’t available just ten years ago.
Online videos can go viral – watched, liked and shared by millions of people – in just hours. That’s why PR pros are scrambling to jump on the bandwagon.

Successful Viral Video Campaigns

Will it Blend?

Consider the “Will It Blend?” video series. Millions of viewers have tuned into the YouTube videos to see if everyday items, including smartphones, tablets and video games, are any match for kitchen blenders – and to see what the carnage looks like after the fact.
Savvy viewers will realize that these videos, many of which have gone viral, are ads for Blendtec blenders.

One of the reasons that this campaign works so well? The videos allow the company to show consumers how well their products work – in a pretty unconventional way – rather than simply telling them.

Old Spice

What about the Old Spice campaign that simultaneously hit the Web and TV screens? The male hygiene brand company hired actor and former football player Isaiah Mustafa to be the face of its campaign, which appealed both to women who wanted their men to be sexy and men who wanted to be as cool as the star.
In the first 24 hours, Old Spice’s first YouTube video achieved over 6.5 million views, and it now has more than 47 million. Based on its popularity, you might not guess that this campaign only lasted a few days. But its effects are still prevalent, and people are still talking about it, more than two years later.

YouTube Preview Image

Recommended:  Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone?


Blendtec and Old Spice rely on comedy as a way to get viewers to pay attention – but that’s not the only method. Consider the current video marketing campaign for Samsung’s smartwatch.

The campaign’s slogan, “The next big thing is already here,” is a direct-but-subtle attack on Apple’s iPhone. The commercials show consumers waiting outside the Apple store for day – for a new phone that doesn’t match the capabilities and features of the already-available Samsung Galaxy S3.

Similar tech companies, including Google and Motorola, have employed similar viral video marketing campaigns. But not everyone has taken the bait. Verizon Internet, for example, relies on traditional advertising even as competitor AT&T sees success from their recent slew of humorous viral advertisements.


YouTube Preview Image


YouTube Preview Image


Recommended: Why did Toyota ignore successful Old Spice?

Video Advertising

Videos can provide valuable advertising opportunities for brands of all sizes. Even if you don’t create your own video content, you can advertise with videos through AdWords. Video ads can help you gain exposure to potential customers, who may sign up for your newsletter, join your community or purchase your product. Using simple video content advertisers can reach thousands or even millions of viewers with less effort than ever.

The Role of Social Media

Social media plays an integral part in the success of viral videos. Views don’t just count visitors on YouTube, for example. They consider views on Facebook and other social networks. And social media makes it easier than ever for videos to reach more viewers. The more a video is shared, the more likely it is to go viral.

The easier a video is to share, the more views and shares it will get. YouTube and Vimeo are two video-sharing sites that make this easy. Even if you create a perfect viral video, you’ve got to allow your viewers to share it with their networks for success to happen.

Video ads are everywhere – including on social media and in search engine results. Take advantage of that exposure, and distinguish videos on your website. If you go viral, your traffic and sales can increase exponentially.

So here are the 3 key ingredients

1.  Combine buzz-worthy content with WOM marketing: Tie your campaign to an actionable event or promotion for your brand or product. Enhance the shareability of your campaign by providing viewers with extra incentive to not only pass the video along, but also to make a purchase.

2. Make it memorable: While competitor bashing techniques have been effective in the past, funny ads are in vogue and spreading fastest. Give your video a unique comedic angle to elicit more views and shares.

3. Generate revenue: The faster your video spreads, the faster it reaches the maximum amount of eyeballs (and potential customers). BUT: viral marketing will only help your business if your call to action to your consumers is clear and memorable. Successful viral campaigns employ most of the basic rules of traditional advertising. Ensure the maximum ROI for your campaign by uniquely defining your value proposition, key benefits and call to action in the content of your video.

Recommended: 3 golden rules for social media marketing

Source: The key to creating viral videos

What is your favorite viral video?
Did I forget to include an advertisement that went viral online?
What strategy have you been using to create shareable videos?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insight – I appreciate it, as always.

Find more on Google – Old Spice, Samsung, viral video, viral marketing, corporate blog, KPI, ROI, metrics, conversation, engagement

The author: This post was written by business tech writer Sam Melton.

Sam is a former marketing professional turned freelance writer. He specializes in business and sports tech.

  •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Sam,

    Thanks so much for this great blog post. Really interesting examples that you bring. I thought I add an example from India to your list of North American ones (see blog post).

    Thanks to @thorstenising:twitter and @frischkopp:twitter (Stefan Keuchel) I came across a video from Google India about using Search – Reunion (two old blokes).

    It is simply cute and even though – unless we are from India maybe – are unable to understand the dialogue, you get the message — real funny thing. I attached a Screenshot…

    ===> Here is the link – SMILE (click URL to view video)

    Urs @ComMetrics:twitter

    Maybe we get some from Europe as well and MORE FROM ASIA, what you think, Sam?

  •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Sam
    Having read your post again I started wondering nut just what makes a video go viral but also

    1 – when do we agree that a video has gone viral.
    a – when we have a certain number of people that watched it?
    b – when print media finally mentions it or TV for that matter (e.g., news)?

    2 – Are there any other places where viral videos appear to be as successful as in the US?

    I hope you can shed some light on this matter because I surely would like to understand this a bit better than I feel I do right now.

    • Sam Melton

      There’s no real threshold that a video has to reach in order to earnthe “viral” disposition. Obviously for a video or a campaign to be viral, it needs to have a substantial amount of shares and views on various social platforms.

      For a “viral” campaign to be picked up by traditional media outlets, generally the campaign would contain several videos that have consistently received a substantial amount of views and shares. AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” advertisement campaign not only filled television ad spots, but also was heavily viewed and shared over the Internet. This resulted in instant fame for the spot’s star Beck Bennett and his addition to the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

      The first example of international viral success that I could think of is Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video. Although not a marketing campaign, the video is wacky, bizarre, catchy and begs to be talked about; it contains all the ingredients for viral success (hence its nearly 2 billion views). Check it out here:

      •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

        Dear Sam

        Thanks for replying to my comment.

        I really think we got a cultural issue as well. I have shared the AT&T video with kids teenies and so forth and not one liked it. They felt it was neither funny nor cute…. plain stup….

        Of course, they are wrong, it all depends how you look at it and shows nicely what works in Europe might fail in the U.S. and vice versa.

        The Source: Gangnam Style 3 steps to word-of-mouth success– click to view post

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