23 Dec

Going Viral

By Abby Brown, Creative Associate

Oh, the viral video. So simple, so…well, unpredictable. This new form of media, mysterious to many, has become a primary method for brands to communicate to a large audience. Ad Age recently released a list of The 20 Most Viral Ads of 2015, and the article made me question, what exactly makes a viral video?

After crying at puppies, laughing at the Game of Thrones cast trying to sing, and watching each video in the list, I compiled my own list of components that help make a viral video successful:

1) Give your Audience a Reason to Share
A video that elicits a certain emotion is much more likely to be passed along than a bland competitor. Many of the videos that made the list provoke an emotion, whether it’s joy, sadness, or excitement. Kleenex’s “Unlikely Best Friends” (#10 on the list) made me cry like a baby.

2) Interactions are Powerful
Many of these videos feature real people interacting with their message. Whether it’s everyday people showing the capabilities of love, little Italian boys being adorable, or Disney characters surprising unsuspecting shoppers, audience interaction shows that a brand is relatable and likable.

3) Shorter is Sweeter
Aside from “Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical”, most of these videos are around 2-4 minutes. People have short attention spans, especially when it comes to social media. Keeping videos brief helps keep your audience’s attention (unless I get to see John Snow and Daenerys Targaryen sing).

4) Consider the Puppies
I’m only partially kidding. It actually bothers me when brands utilize animals, even if they have nothing to do with their products or services. Watching cute animals be best friends does not make me want to go out and buy an Android. But then I watch the video a dozen times and send it to my mom, roommates, and boyfriend, only to realize later that I fell prey to the cute factor. So while I might think it’s cheating, sometimes the cute factor works.

So whether you’re braving the viral video world, or just trying to communicate through a new method, consider these tips on how to better reach your audience. Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Ad Age’s list!