We would argue the use of video in your inbound strategy is mandatory. There are so many benefits of video on SEO and website traffic, but one area it can make the most significant impact is through social engagement. A viral video produces organic shares, improves link building and click-through rates. Almost 94% of marketers have plans to add video to their content strategy, and there’s a reason for that.

Characteristics of a Viral Video

According to Merriam-Webster, viral is “quickly and widely spread or popularized especially by means of social media.” Virality isn’t a science. There isn’t a formula that you can plug in and produce a winner, but there are many elements that transcend those videos that have become popular. According to an article by HubSpot, there are eight characteristics of a viral video:

  • Title length: 75% of the videos had short titles and an average title length being 2.76 words.
  • Run-time: 60% of the videos had short run-times 3 minutes or less.
  • Element of laughter: 30% of the videos featured the element of laughter.
  • Element of surprise: 50% of the videos exhibited the element of surprise.
  • Element of irony: 90% of the videos featured an element contrary to what was expected.
  • Musical quality: 60% of the videos displayed singing, background music, or popular song references.
  • Youth: 35% of the videos featured children seemingly under the age of 18. 20% of them displayed children seemingly under the age of 10.
  • Talent: 30% of the videos were composed of songs, dances, or performances that required practice and talent.

Best Examples of Viral Videos

With all this information, let’s put some of it into perspective with a look at some popular videos produced over the years. While each brand sells something different, each video conveys a strong message, spoke directly to their demographic, and yielded millions of online views.

Convey Emotion

People long for opportunities to reconnect. Everyone has work and family obligations with little time to connect with ourselves and surroundings on a deeper level. Originally airing in 2015 during the Super Bowl, Always hit the mark on providing consumers with emotion by creating their ads “Like a Girl.” It received a lot of positive attention and was a change in direction from their usual message. Always has used confidence in their campaigns before, but what they achieved with “Like a Girl” focused on empowerment. The gamble paid off. The company was targeting their ad at young girls who were having their first period and triggering emotions from women who could understand that “like a girl” is generally an insult. However, what the brand did is change the way the phrase was used to put a positive spin on the words by asking young girls to describe the power they have as females. Why this video became viral is Always’ understanding of their core demographic and how to utilize emotion to connect with them on a much deeper level.

[Source: Always Youtube]

Use Humor

Appropriately utilizing humor can increase your chances of your video going viral. Comedy attracts a lot of attention and is one of the biggest reasons for why people share videos. Humor is another way to bring people together, and brands can piggyback on this trend by marketing branded videos that speak to their target consumer. One company that got this right was Orabrush. Back in 2009, they created a video about curing bad breath. Throughout the video, a man in a white lab coat and protective goggles educates viewers about bad breath and how their product can solve the problem. Their creative and comedy genius resulted in 15 million video views, and over 10,000 products sold online and their team only spent 80 hours producing and writing the video before being shot. Humor is subjective, and the reason why they were able to make it work was their connection and understanding of not only their consumer but their product. They could apply light-hearted fun and position themselves as a brand that didn’t take themselves too seriously. The result is a dedicated band of followers.

[Source: Orabrush YouTube]

Connect Your Message to Viral Content

People love to see content that references things they remember. It gives the viewer a sense of belonging and that they are “in on the joke.” Usually, when a piece of content goes viral, you’ll see many parodies follow. GoPro decided to try their hand by riding the success from a firefighter who rescued a cat from a tree back in 2013. The firefighter was wearing a GoPro t-shirt and when he uploaded the video to YouTube, immediately generated 1.5 million views within a few weeks. GoPro became aware of the video and obtained the rights, so they could recut the video and add their branding. When they re-released the video on their own channel, they managed to get 5 million views in just one week. It’s hard to plan an entire campaign around the chance someone is using your product, but there are ways you can use satire or parody information that is already popular. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Saturday Night Live has built an empire on these two strategies alone. How you can make this work for your company is by keeping up with social trends and identifying what interests your demographic. If there is a message that marries well with your branding, you could strike solid gold.

[Source: GoPro YouTube]

If you’re interested in creating quality video content, contact Horton Group today. You’ll speak with an Account Manager who will utilize our creative marketing team to outline your goals and provide ways to achieve them.