Viral Videos in Advertising

Viral Videos in Advertising

What is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is any strategy that encourages individuals to deliver a marketing message to others, this creates potential for growth in the message’s exposure. These strategies take advantage of fast multiplication to spread the message to thousands or millions.

Elements of Viral Marketing Strategies

There are some viral marketing strategies that work better than others. However, there are 6 basic elements that should be included in any strategy. The viral marketing strategy does not need to contain ALL the elements, but if more elements are embraced, the results are likely to be more powerful. The 6 elements include:

1. Give away products or services
2. Provide for effortless transfer to others
3. Scale easily from small to very large
4. Exploit common motivations and behaviours
5. Utilize existing communication networks
6. Take advantage of others’ resources

In a video we produced for a music client, they took advantage of the pre-roll advertisements on YouTube, giving video a better chance of being offered to potential viewers, and got 11 thousand views in a coupleof days, as well as enquiries from music agents - the latter being the purpose of the video.

Getting a brand noticed using social media gets even more difficult every day. Users are uploading 100 hours of videos to YouTube every 60 seconds and more than 4.75 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every 24 hours. Plus the 500 million new tweets every day. The chances of breaking into a wider audience can seem almost non-existent.

That said, companies of different sizes are still managing to break into the mainstream market by creating campaigns that compel the consumers to share the contents with their social groups. Some campaigns can be hilarious and other heart-breaking but they all contain triggers which get people talking, says Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the bestselling ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On’.

Emotion is one factor that drives sharing. We see lots of funny stuff go viral on YouTube, but we also see angry political rants get shared.” Berger adds “Any emotion that fires us up – humour, awe and excitement, but also anger and anxiety – drives us to share.

Social media is a great equalizer. Regardless of brand awareness of marketing budget any company can climb up the rankings. All they need is a clever idea and skilful execution.
There is a science behind why people share. It’s not chance and it’s not random,” Berger says. “If you understand the underlying science of human behaviour, you can predict what people are going to pass on, and you can craft your own contagious content – whether it’s messages, products or ideas – that people are more likely to.”

Berger investigated the mechanics of virality, he identified 6 key drivers under the acronym STEPPS. They are:

Social Currency (sharing things that make people look good),

Triggers (acknowledge we talk about things that are ‘top-of-mind’),


Public (doing what we see others do),

Practical Value (news people can use) and

Stories (information passed along through idle chitchat).

Berger argues that small businesses should not worry about going viral on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter and should focus on generating buzz in the real world. We’ve tend to agree with this last statement, if you’re a motor mechanic with a limited geographic area for working, there’s really little benefit to getting millions of views world-wide; what you do want is local profile.

Viral videos are not low-quality, fan made or off-the-cuff scenes depicted in everyday life. Brands are fully immersed in viral videos. They are looking for ways to connect with their audience in a way that’s not only entertaining but that aligns with the qualities the company wants to show. Video is considered to be marketing’s new frontier according to many industry experts, through the likes of YouTube or short stories in Instagram, Vine & Snapchat.

Branded videos spread for the same reasons as why non-branded videos go viral: they are compelling and shareable. To make something that consumers want to share – especially if it’s entertaining – is critical for a successful video. Videos should encourage consumers to engage with a brand in genuine fashions. It focuses on people sharing viral videos (whether they are branded or not) because they have found something they think is worth other people knowing about, regardless of what the brand’s motives are. This is the magic: the more shares and views a video gets, the more people are reached and the more the audience has brand awareness for that specific brand – and learn what the brand stands for.

Why are they effective?

Brands can use music or other techniques to produce something which is more provocative, heart-breaking, electrifying-whatever emotion a company wishes to portray can be evoked by a video. Branded videos can be as long as they need to be, instead of the normal 30 or 60 second TV advert. (Some catchy TV adverts still go viral once they posted online). Many brands bank on humour while others use heart to make a video memorable. Most videos share positive messages instead of negative ones (some use both).

Brand visibility and timing

Some of the best content that brands are publishing is more lightly branded videos instead of overtly branded – brands are ensuring that their videos are appealing instead of focusing on self-promotion, the promotion and brand affinity comes later in the video. Most adverts reveal the brand at the end, instead of pushing the brand throughout. Some viewers may not know they are watching a brands video until the last scene – and if the viewer’s watch until the end, like what they see and are nicely surprised when they see the brands name – then it’s a win.

5 best practices for creating viral branded videos

1. Look beyond influencers
2. Make a cinematic social object
3. Pulse the brand
4. Go long
5. Buy native

3 things any video needs to go viral

1) Psychological Share Motivation
- Emotions
- Identify and Self Expression
- Information
2) Easily Shareable
3) A data-driven strategy

For more information on how to make video work for your business just get in touch and we will be happy to give you a free 30 minutes consultation: 01494 898919




For any enquiries please fill in the form or use the contact details below.