YouTube is now the second largest search engine and the third most visited site on the internet. If you are not using videos or incorporating this platform in your marketing strategies, then you are missing out plain and simple.
Starting a YouTube channel is easy, but the next question is, how do you make your videos stand out or go viral? One way to get things headed in the right direction is to buy YouTube views, subscribers, and other forms of engagement to make you look more popular from the get-go. They won’t make you a star all on their own, but it’s a good way to start.
Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at Wharton University, wrote a book called Contagious: Why Things Catch On, on the virality of content, and why some content gets shared more than others. Based on a 10-year study, he was able to identify six key principles that make something go viral.
In this article we will share these six principles, along with six corresponding video ads that demonstrate them well.
1. Social Currency
We subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) want to show others that we are up to date on the latest events. We tend to share videos that will make us look good in the eyes of other people – we share because we want people to know where our interests lie, and what we agree with.
Videos connected to popular culture are extremely appealing and can easily grab the attention of viewers. When Jimmy Fallon did a spoof video of the hit show “Stranger Things,” it earned millions of views and was shared across every social media platform. When they’re done well, parodies, satire, and reaction videos that are connected to what is popular now have a high chance of being shared everywhere and with everyone.
A trigger is a powerful, notable aspect of your video that will make it more likely to be shared on social platforms. If you want your video to go viral you’ve got to pick the right trigger for your content and your viewers, something that will stay on the top of their minds.
Your triggers will depend on your brand values, campaign objectives, and target audience. You should also be thinking about how to get your videos in front of as many eyes as possible, for continuous exposure.
Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” videos are somewhat painful to watch – but that’s their trigger. They show how their blenders are able to mangle all sorts of expensive objects, featuring their lovable founder, Tom Dickson. Each video has millions of views, and the objects they blended vary from credit cards, mobile phones, playing cards, lighters, even iPhones and iPads.
More than 9 years after starting, Will it Blend? is still alive and has more than 900,000 subscribers. With those viral videos, not only was the company able to increase their sales by 500%, they also became a worldwide meme and now when people think of durable hardcore blenders, they think of Blendtec.
What’s one of the most common ingredients of viral videos? Targeting the emotions of viewers. We tend to share things that made us feel something very strongly, or are on subjects that we care about deeply.
Videos that bring you to tears, or close to them, typically make for very successful ads and have higher chances of being shared.
Dove’s video, “Real Beauty Sketches,” earned more than 53 million views on YouTube and 68 million views across the web after just a month. This video was deeply human and shared a powerful and positive message about how women see themselves, and that’s exactly why people felt compelled to share it.
Berger says that the most shareable content tends to be those videos that have a positive note, and that happy emotions outperform sad emotions in the realm of shareability.
There were 40,000 “Harlem Shake” videos uploaded in the first 11 days after this meme exploded, with over 175 million views collectively. The reason for its viral success is that it was easy to replicate.
We share or imitate videos of what we see the majority of people around us are doing. The meme is short, had an easy structure to follow, and had a catchy song. Did you ever even see the original?
5. Practical Value
Dollar Shave Club’s most viral success is its first video featuring their founder, Michael Dubin. In just a week it had a million views.
The video made it clear to their audience that for just a couple bucks per month you can buy their razor blades and save a lot of money. It showed their company mission in a fun way: to help you save money on shaving equipment.
This is exactly why people shared it – they wanted to let their friends know about a good deal, and because it was fun to watch for anyone regardless of whether they want the blades or not.
Anyone in need of razor blades probably wanted to try them out after watching. Big bonus points for the fact that the video was done in the most creative way possible.
We like sharing stories, whether they’re full of new information or experiences we’ve had. If your video is interesting and informative, it is also highly sharable.
One viral video that used stories very well was on wealth inequality in the US. It’s not the sexiest topic to share nor was it created by a big company, but it still managed to gain millions of views, more than 19 million today.
It wasn’t an instant viral video but as soon it got picked up by several publications and prominent personalities, it started to spread. The video managed to garner strong reactions from viewers because the statistics were so shocking that people were compelled to share this information to raise awareness.
Does Your Video Embody These Viral Qualities?
These six principles shared in Berger’s research are embedded within human psychology, which makes us naturally wired to share certain information, photos, and videos.
In his book, Berger mentions that “Virality isn’t born, it’s made.” The principles we have shared explain some of the reasons why people are attracted to some videos, while others get ignored. These six qualities can improve the shareability of your content, up your odds for viral success, and even help you build a more successful Youtube channel.
You don’t need to try to hit each of the 6 qualities in every video you produce, but you should never forget about them. Also, remember that you can buy YouTube views and other signals of engagement to build up your social proof, giving people more reason to click and watch your videos.
Take these principles of virality to heart as you make your next videos, and you might get way more attention than you ever expected.
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