Recently, I came across a report by HubSpot and YouTube stating that video consumption is growing by 100 percent every year and their (HubSpot and YouTube) prime time audience is bigger than the top 10 TV shows combined. From a customer adoption perspective, the HubSpot report showed that 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
Therefore, it doesn’t really come as a surprise to me that today every entrepreneur’s dream is to create that one video that drives awareness, conversions and growth. In fact, it’s really not an understatement to say that getting content to go viral has become the holy grail of any online business today.
While viral content is highly coveted, getting your videos to go viral is really not an easy feat. By nature virality is unpredictable. It’s neither formulaic nor repeatable and for every viral video success, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of failures. Moreover, as per a Forbes report, even Upworthy, the king of virality, only has 0.3 percent of posts going viral.
However, there are still actions you can take to improve your odds of viral success.
While there is a lot written about how a viral video can be created, what are the ingredients that make a video go viral, and what topics should one select? I’m going to burst some long-held myths about going viral. I meet a lot of people every day with different aspirations and beliefs about viral success, and here are my four learnings (or myths) for all those who are trying to break the internet with their content.
Millennials are everything
The focus of every ad campaign, video, and even a full-fledged web series, of late, has been shifted to the 140 character Twitter generation. And why not, there are more millennials in the workforce than other generations, with an expected $1.4 trillion in disposable income by the year 2020.
However, it’s not necessary to target them through every video or content piece you produce. It’s extremely important to understand that not every occasion or every campaign could be centered on them. For instance, we came up with a father’s day campaign for Urban Ladder (Homecoming). While Urban Ladder as a brand is targeted to youths, the occasion’s demand was to directly break the ice with fathers and not the younger generation. So, we focused on creating something special for fathers and it automatically gets praises from young and old generations alike. The video that became one of the top Diwali videos in 2015 has generated over 7 million YouTube views, over 2 million Facebook views and countless shares.
To put it simply, it’s a myth that everything on digital media has to be about millennials. Keep in mind the audience and occasion you want to target and create content accordingly.
Be prominently present on major content creators
How many of you have noticed a banal product placement in a movie, serial or an award show? I’m sure we all have. But today, with a plethora of original content generation channels and platforms, brand integration has become a big thing in marketing. It’s basically when lines between storytelling, entertainment and advertising all merge seamlessly to create something super fun to watch. It’s not about thrusting your product in consumer’s face, rather it is about integrating your brand tactfully to create awareness.
Yes, ‘awareness’ and not brand building. When you place your brand in a video or web-series created by channels like TVF or AIB, your brand is definitely getting an extra mileage but it’s unfair to assume that you are building a brand, even if the video you are featuring in has broken all the virality records. Branding is about how a person will think or perceive of you and being present in a video or a series will not trigger a consumer to run and purchase your product; it will just allow them to recognize your brand or product.
Additionally, there are fair chances that a consumer will perceive your brand in a negative light if he sees you in a series, which is controversial or has a tinge of below the belt jokes. Therefore, rather than following the trend of brand integration blindly to get some virality, take a call and decide if it’s worth the effort.
Only big brands can go viral
One of the common questions that I get from brands and marketers is whether a small brand with fewer budgets can go viral. My answer to all of them is a big yes. A brand can go viral with even zero cost. Just make sure you have something great to offer. Something that is highly relatable and evokes some sense.
For instance, when back in 2012, Dollar Shave Club (DSC) turned heads with its now legendary launch video, the idea was to make an uncomfortable and boring topic (shaving) entertaining and worth sharing with a friend. The company was also in its infancy and was not a brand. But today, the video has been viewed over 22 million times, and DSC has grown to include a team of about 45 full-time employees, 1.1 million subscribers, a whopping $615 million valuation in 2015, and most recently a $1 Billion all-cash acquisition by Unilever.
In a nutshell, anything or anyone can go viral; it just needs a right message and content to share with the audience.
Virality is all about views and shares
Most brands and marketers think that once a video goes viral, it’s all about view and shares the brand has achieved. But in reality, creativity and data analytics need to be balanced for a campaign to be a success.
All the efforts you put in creating a video or a campaign goes in vain if you are unable to measure the impact it created or draw some conclusions for your future campaigns. A campaign is only worth when you can measure engagement or know how many people are searching for you on Google or any other metric to gauge the results of your campaign.