How to Make a Viral Video

November 12th, 2013 Written by

Psy - Gangnam StyleThe most watched YouTube video currently has 1,818,203,127 views. At its peak of popularity in January of this year, nearly 15 million people watched the video in a single day. What could be so compelling that nearly 2 billion people felt the need to watch? It’s not a State of the Union Address, not a how-to tutorial, and nothing particularly informative or useful. It’s a music video by South Korean pop singer Psy called Gangnam Style, and it’s one of the most-viewed viral videos ever unleashed.

We doubt this comes as a surprise. If you’re internet savvy enough to be reading a blog, then you’ve most likely seen (or heard about) the viral video. Although it may be the most viewed, Gangnam Style is not the only video to spread rapidly. There are a number of music videos, home videos, and commercials that have reached viral status by accumulating millions of views.

Understandably, this might lead you to wonder how to make a viral video for the purposes of advertising.

For Challenger Brand marketers, even 1 million views would be a dream come true, and YouTube offers an unbeatable price (free). So, how does a Challenger Brand create a viral video? Try these 4 qualities that have proven consistently successful for making viral videos:

  1. Funny – Most of the viral videos we come across are humorous, and yours should be too. Laughing is an extremely social and contagious activity; when people see a funny video they often want to pass it along. Dancing with my baby-me by Evian has been viewed more than 64 million times and is filled with, you guessed it, hilarious dancing babies.
  2. Short – The longer your video is, the less likely it is that people will watch it. Nobody wants to invest 5 valuable minutes in a video they know nothing about. Aim for 1 ½ minutes or less when creating a video that’s meant to go viral. The Old Spice commercial Man Your Man Could Smell Like is a perfect length at 33 seconds and has an impressive 47 million views.
  3. Strange – If you show people something they’ve never seen before, they’ll find it fascinating, memorable, and a great topic of conversation. For example, Dumb Ways to Die has a cute cast of characters but a surprisingly morbid plotline. Because of the strange subject matter, this viral video has racked up nearly 64 million views.
  4. Positive – People usually visit YouTube to have fun so don’t kill their buzz by showing them something sad. According to a recent study video sharing is largely dependent on emotion. Those videos that elicited positive emotions were most likely to be shared. Videos that left people feeling sad were shared much less often, and videos that were dull and non emotional were shared the least. With 56 million views, the Dove Real Beauty video is positively viral.

Until next time…

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