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How to Make a Hit Viral Video

Friday, June 04, 2010

Posted by Vannie Shu, Account Planner, CPG

Everyone wants to know how to make a hit viral video. Do cute puppies, kittens, and babies automatically make a successful video? No, but they probably do help.

What are the elements of hit viral videos? At the very least, successful viral videos are unique and interesting. Is the video like nothing people have ever seen? Does it stand out? Authenticity, humor, and the element of surprise are common characteristics of viral videos. People want watch videos that seem real and not staged. They don’t want to watch brands that try too hard. Often, overbranding a video may decrease its authenticity to viewers. One analysis shows that users are two times less likely to engage (e.g. rate or comment) and four times less likely to share video content that is excessively branded.[i] Branded videos can make up for loss of authenticity through other characteristics. For instance, humor is the key to many viral successes. Does the video make people laugh or smile? Videos with an element of surprise are also popular. These videos shock viewers with an unforeseen twist or with something they have never seen before. These are just a few of the many elements that can make up a viral hit.

The Evian babies video is a perfect example of these characteristics. The video is not excessively branded. It is clearly a commercial, but we do not see Evian bottles and logos throughout the whole video. Babies on roller skates dancing in synchrony to hip hop music. The concept is hugely funny and surprising!

More and more CPG marketers are leveraging the power of video. 5 out of the 10 Top Viral Videos for the week ending May 27, 2010, according to Visible Measures, are CPG brands. Without a kick-start could these videos have hit it big? Given that 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it could be tough to find your aspiring viral video hit. A video discovery strategy is key. Marketers should employ SEO tactics and spread their video onto blogs, forums, and social networks. YouTube Promoted Videos ads, similar to Google Search text ads, can promote your video next to keywords of your choosing. Without viewers, even the best video content can’t go viral.

[i] AdAge "How to Earn Capital Engagement on YouTube." Retrieved May 28, 2010.