Marketing videos that “go viral” can bring companies and organisations a huge amount of PR value, in the form of online visibility, brand recognition and website hits, often for a very small cost.
But how does a marketing video “go viral” and why are some video production more successful than others?
A “viral video” is simply a video that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing and to understand how they work, it’s important to look at how they began. Viral videos predate video sharing sites like Youtube that we are all now familiar with and began with inbox-to-inbox e-mail sharing.
One of the first known examples was “Dancing Baby”, when in 1996 animator Ron Lussier forwarded a video he’d created around his workplace, which was then circulated widely across the Internet via e-mail.
Today however, sharing videos via e-mail still happens, but it’s been dwarfed by the sharing of videos across social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter, and the many video-sharing sites that have sprung up since the inception of Youtube.
The fundamental premise of viral marketing has in fact been around for much longer than inbox-to-inbox sharing: word-of-mouth. All that’s changed is the conversations are now happening online and across a much larger geographical area. Every good marketer knows that word-of-mouth can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool and what the web does is amplify that power, potentially many times over. Videos are simply a strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence; and hopefully driving people to your website where they can learn more about what it is your offering.
If somebody enjoys watching your video, the chances are that they’ll immediately share it with their friends, who in turn, will share it with their friends too. If the video really captures people’s imagination the process becomes self-perpetuating and creates a real buzz online, quickly becoming part of multiple online discussions.
An integral element of the process is that when somebody shares a video, the people they share them with are usually part of a broadly similar demographic, in terms of age, gender, interests, purchasing power and taste. This means that the video is being seen by exactly the right people, who are also likely to have an interest in your company’s products or services.
Many videos will “go viral” unexpectedly and / or organically; and one video is usually more successful than another simply because it strikes a chord and captures people’s imaginations. However today, successful viral video marketing campaigns often rely upon a carefully planned distribution strategy too and an entire industry has also evolved over the last few years, which produces and distributes “viral” videos on behalf of business and organisations.
By utilising the right online communication tools videos correctly, videos can “go viral” in a matter of days, or even hours, a speed and immediacy incomparable to other marketing tools and channels.