What is a viral video? How to create a viral video for YouTube? What can help make a commercial more "contagious"?
While 20-30 years ago brands were competing to produce memorable commercials that could be shown on television, today companies dream of creating viral videos on the world's most popular video hosting site, YouTube.
Viral videos are video content that consumers pass on to each other for free without pressure from businesses.
Like other types of viral marketing, videos make users want to share them with friends. Thanks to such distribution, they can make a brand famous, and in a few days millions of people can know about it. At the same time, they don't cause as much annoyance as direct advertising.
The main indicators of the virality of advertising videos on the Internet are the number of views, from 200,000 in the first two days after publication, and reposts, as well as the speed of distribution on social networks and other resources.
Some viral videos have nothing to do with advertising. But some companies manage to create videos that spread online to users at the speed of light.
The world's premier video hosting site is YouTube. This resource, created in 2005 as a dating site where you could exchange videos telling about yourself and your exemplary partner, after being purchased by Google, has turned into the main video service with 2 billion monthly users.
Not only is it a popular video distribution site, but it's also the top search engine where people search for video information. In addition, links to videos posted on this resource always come out first in search results.
There are, of course, other video hosting sites (Vimeo, TikTok, IGTV, Reels), but they cannot compare to YouTube in terms of audience reach and popularity. Most brands and users in the world post videos and want to become famous on this resource.
Meanwhile, not all businesses need to strive to make viral YouTube videos, of course.
If your target audience rarely goes online and prefers to receive information on television, it is unlikely that you should aspire to make a viral video for YouTube.
Small, local businesses aren't likely to need viral videos either. Why do they need millions of views and reposts if the products and services are used by no more than a thousand people? Viral advertising is the prerogative of mass-market brands operating on a national and transnational scale.
But the main thing to keep in mind for those who dream of creating promotional viral videos is that they will not necessarily help increase sales, and, you will not be able to tell them about the benefits and features of products and services.
If you want "viral" fame, then of course you need "infectious" advertising, but if you are tasked with increasing sales, then you need other marketing tools.
To attract the target audience in specialized markets, viral advertising is also unlikely to work. Much more productive in this case can be a series of videos with useful tips and information, detailing the benefits of your products and services.
We need to take into account other aspects. Of course, viral advertising can attract the attention of millions of people, but if your goods and services are not of super quality, the efforts to create such content may be in vain.
In addition, the success of viral videos is short-lived. They are quickly forgotten, because there is a lot of other "contagion". So think more than once, whether you need to spend time and effort on creating such content. Maybe choose something valuable to promote your brand?
In order to dare to launch a promotional viral video, you must have courage. Not all entrepreneurs are willing to link products with something provocative, entertaining, and humorous, preferring something mediocre. But you can't create a viral video without risk, provocation and ridiculousness. Are you ready for such experiments with your brand image?
There are special viral marketing agencies that can develop "infectious" advertising scenarios for you. But even they can't guarantee you that their products will go viral.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, there are no ready-made, universal recipes for creating viral YouTube ads, otherwise everyone would be creating them. But there are certain aspects that can make your commercials "contagious.
Thousands of hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every day, and in order to stand out in this array of visual information, and even with advertising content, you have to come up with something memorable. For users to start sending each other links to the video, it has to be emotional and catchy. The viral effect is triggered only when something surprises, amazes and touches people.
• Wow effect;
• Original plot with an unexpected finale as in an anecdote;
• A demonstration of events;
• And something that will cause a lot of controversy and discussion.
Any video with a high emotional charge, causing strong feelings also has a chance to become "contagious.
It is noteworthy that a brand does not play a prominent role in viral advertising, and a video with a frank and excessive advertising message is unlikely to become "contagious. Sometimes such videos are not perceived as commercials at first, and the brand is only mentioned in the finale.
Look at some viral commercials for an example, where the brand is spiced up with entertaining, surprising and humorous viral content.
Based on these tenets, think about what components can be associated with the brand so that they are associated with it. Think about what would hook your target audience and evoke strong emotions.
Also, keep a close eye on what's going on in the world and in the country. Sometimes it is possible to create a promotional viral video by linking it to acute social, political and sporting events.
Of course, study the experience of the companies that managed to make a viral video to promote their products. You should not copy their ideas. Reflect on why their video was able to cause a viral wave and generate thousands of reposts. What were they able to hook their audience with?
The main thing in viral videos is the original idea, not the quality of execution. Many viral videos without an advertising message are shot on smartphones.
You can spend money to create a viral video, and it will not become "infectious" as a result. And at the same time, you can make an inexpensive video with an original idea that will suddenly "go viral" and make the company famous. So, bet on the creativity, ideas and original script, not on the technical nuances and budget.
If you want, you can make a viral video for free. In the world of advertising viruses, ideas are much more important than money, although, of course, creating videos with a complex plot and many special effects requires serious financial expenses.
Given the number of videos posted on YouTube, it's important to make the video stand out in the stream of visual information.
What's important is what the beginning of the video will be. Just like a musical pop hit, a viral ad should grab the audience's attention from the first seconds. If you do not intrigue the viewer in 15 seconds, he will simply turn off the video, or move on to another video. No less impressive should be the final content.
A viral video should have an original, catchy title, an intriguing description and a striking splash screen.
Properly chosen music can be cheerful, dancing, romantic and so on, also has an importance for viral videos.
Unlike TV commercials, viral videos don't have to be short and stay up to 30 seconds. The duration of the content varies from 1 to 3 minutes. Sometimes even longer videos become viral. The promotional video of the travel search engine Momondo - The DNA Journey, which went viral in the English-speaking world, lasts more than five minutes.
You should also keep in mind that many YouTube videos are viewed on mobile devices. Therefore, the video should be adapted for ease of perception in this format.
It is important not to get lost in this video abundance. Leave links to videos on social networks, websites, blogs and forums. You can also apply to special agencies for promotion and distribution of commercials on the Internet, but it will not be a free option.
To popularize your video, you can also turn to bloggers-influencers to promote it, but this will also require some financial investment.
As a rule, viral videos go viral in the first two to three days after posting. During these days, their number of views grows at a gigantic rate. Then the growth of views and reposts slows down and becomes insensible in two weeks.
The most important thing for viral videos on YouTube is to get into the "trending" section. Getting into that section itself increases the number of views of the video.
You need to carefully study the analytics on YouTube videos, which is provided to all registered users who post videos. This will allow you to assess audience engagement, viewing time, number of likes, comments, reposts, etc.
It's a fact that most of viral video views are made by office workers who spend part of their working time watching YouTube videos.
That's why it's not efficient to post viral videos on YouTube at weekends, on holidays or in the days when there are some emergency events.
It's more effective to post your viral videos on Mondays or Tuesdays, on calm days when nothing extraordinary happens, so the army of office workers will have time to watch them, discuss and forward them to their friends during the working week.
It is important that the idea of the video is associated with the brand. Creating a wow effect without a connection to the brand, trying to surprise, entertain or make people laugh, is a waste of money.
For example, Cadbury, the makers of chocolate, spent money on a commercial in which an actor dressed as a gorilla played drums. The commercial was hilarious and potentially viral, but because it was in no way associated with chocolate, it was a failure.
An example of viral advertising based on the wow effect and the principle of "how dare you?" was the video of the Swedish concern Volvo with Jean-Claude Van Damme sitting on the splits between two cars. Thanks to the original and potentially dangerous stunt, the video got millions of views and reposts and generated a lot of parodies, though not all viewers could remember which cars the ageless Van Damme was hopping between.
The Dove commercial "Evolution" was based on the same wow-effect and amazement, in which an unremarkable woman in a minute turns into a glossy beauty looking at us from an advertising billboard.
A prime example of a touching viral ad that has garnered tens of millions of views is a GoPro camera commercial in which a firefighter rescues a passed out kitten from a burning house.
The virality of the Evian mineral water commercial with dancing babies, whose reflections are seen in the mirrors of the city space by adults, is based on the same touching and tenderness effect.
Few people knew about Blendtec, the blender company, until it made the viral "Will It Blend?" commercial. In that video, the company's founder Tom Dixon decided to use a blender to shred an Apple iPad. The shock effect of this choice quickly made the commercial viral and the company famous.
We could go on and on about such examples. Some of these videos required serious investment, while others were made on a minimal budget. But they all show that only something creative, surprising, funny, and extremely emotional can go viral. With slogans like "optimum value for money," "viral" fame will never go viral.