As a video production company, we sometimes get asked ‘Can you make me a viral video?’ Typically, video production companies like Creativa focus on marketing, branding and producing creative and results driven videos that convey our clients’ message whilst targeting the right audience and market. If you look at the more successful viral videos on YouTube, the list mainly consists of music videos, funny or weird animals, children doing normal things that children do, parodies and silly pranks.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that your madly successful video campaign is over before it begins – but you may need to set your sights on a more achievable goal. As in a world of viral video marketing, it is impossible to accurately predict if any given video will be the next Gangnam Style, (which by the way has broken more YouTube records than any other video ever). So what exactly can we do to get the audiences’ attention?
A great place to start is to look at what videos are Trending on YouTube. If you Google YouTube Trending Videos, and look at the YouTube Spotlight, or Google Trends pages, you will see that even within the YouTube-verse,“Trends” can be measured differently. The list of videos that are Trending (that is, what many people are searching for and watching on any given day) are different on both pages.
But what is common between the lists are that the top 25 videos on both lists are made up of both home brews and professionally made videos. While it looks relatively random in terms of topics and styles, I did find a few commonalities that I will share with you:
Current topics tend to Trend
Video Channels with previously Trending videos will tend to trend again with new videos
If a major event happens, for example, the measles outbreak in the US, most news stories about this topic will be watched and shared by many people looking for current information; and the flow on effect is that any video that supports or contradicts the topic may also get its day in the sun. So a video about vaccination or one about the plight of infectious diseases in Africa may hop right to the top of videos being watched.
With regards to the second insight, if you look at the trending video lists, you will usually find a couple of videos that are created by people or organisations with previously popular videos. If you remember the Melbourne Metro “Dumb ways to die” viral video, their follow up videos have also trended very well on YouTube. People will give the subsequent videos a chance based on the success of the previous video.
That’s how YouTube stars are born. Australian Natalie Tran, is one of the most successful YouTube stars who started with one YouTube sensation – and she did not stop there. In fact she has been doing it for 9 years, and every video that she uploads still trends well on YouTube – just have a look at her average video views. She has hundreds of videos about random topics that she films herself, check out one example here where she talks about hating the fact that she ate junk food the day before. Almost 2.5 million people have watched it!
So what does this mean for us in the business of marketing?
Well, first of all, don’t put all your eggs of a marketing campaign into just video marketing. Second of all, a good video marketing campaign requires planning, flexibility, and tenacity.
A video marketing campaign needs to have a strategy. A good strategy to use is to try to catch the next current topic before it happens, or to follow on current topics that continually come up (like Cost-of-Living pressures) and work the video(s) around it.
Next, the strategy needs to have the flexibility to react to sudden changes to what is happening in the world. For example, while the Cost of Living Pressure topic is always current, when the Carbon Tax was announced in Australia, all of a sudden, the focus was shifted towards affordability of energy in the household.
If you have a flexible strategy to tweak new videos towards that mood, the video can slot into the supporting videos that get views because it is related to the topic, as mentioned earlier. The idea is to try to ride the wave.
If you have done the previous two things, then the final thing you need is patience; and with some luck you will hit on one successful video; which you can then base off and push out more videos that people will watch!
So good luck with your next marketing campaign, and don’t forget that videos are a powerful addition to any marketing mix.