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The Elements of Viral Video Marketing

Viral videos are a holy grail of marketing strategies. They get passed along by the public independently of your efforts, and spread your marketing message far and wide. And it’s common sense that a consumer will pay more attention to a video shared to them by a friend, than one shared by a faceless company they don’t have any personal connection to. But how do you create a viral video? How can you be sure that what you produce is going to turn into increased brand awareness? To know more, you’ll have to know more about viral video marketing practices. There are four broad categories of these advertisements, and while they may overlap plenty in practice, it’s useful to look at them separately.

1. Pass-Along Based Viral Videos

Pass-Along videos are what most of us probably think about when we think “viral marketing“. This is catchy content that is in itself an innate reason for you to pass it along to your friends. You don’t need the promise of a reward, but you’re aware that it’s a brand video, and the content is more or less always going to be funny, or entertaining, or interesting somehow- this is known as “evergreen content”. Examples of this sort of video include cute animal videos, or elaborate music videos made by bands.

2. Incentive Based Viral Videos

As the name suggests, if you share one of these videos, you have the opportunity to win something for yourself. Sometimes the act of sharing will entitle you to a 5% discount at an online store or earn points for a video game you may be engaged in. These are more often used by brands offering a sizeable reward for anyone who reposts, reblogs, retweets, or reshares their video. With an incentive like a cash prize or a free vacation, or even a large supply of the products or services the company offers, and all a consumer has to do is click, it’s easy to see why these get passed around.

3. Trendy Based

Trend based viral videos capitalize on a fast momentary event or fad and tie it into their brand. This requires fast action on your part. However, if you get a video created fast enough, this can be a huge hit. It’s also sometimes a great idea to take advantage of a popular internet meme, although this should be done carefully. If a company does this incorrectly, for example, it risks being turned into a meme itself by people who observed it failing. While this does result in publicity for your company, it’s definitely not good publicity- you don’t want to be in a situation where people are inspired to write the word “Fail” next to your brand name. Trendy based videos can be tricky to do for this reason, because it’s very easy to make a misstep, but when done successfully, they can be talked about for long after they’re relevant. A video production company like Studio B can make sure you’re using the trend as it’s supposed to be used, and not making a costly flub instead.

4. Undercover Based

Undercover based viral videos are the toughest kind of marketing you can try to pull off. Contrary to what you’d think, in undercover viral marketing, you don’t include your brand’s name. When the alien invasion movie District 9 came out, their viral ads didn’t mention that they were advertising a movie, or advertising anything at all- they simply looked like warnings and notices about aliens. They relied on people’s curiosity to remember the ads, then look up their meanings and talk about them with friends. This can be risky- if you do it wrong, you end up with a lot of ads that don’t actually advertise you at all. To do it right, you need a good video production company to give you the help you’ll need.

The Six Ingredients of a Viral Ad

According to studies, the six elements of a good viral marketing strategy are:

  1. It gives away products or services- refer back to “Incentive Based”.

  2. Provides effortless transfer to others- meaning they shouldn’t have to work too hard to share your content. If it takes more than a couple clicks, the majority of consumers out there are going to think it takes too much work.

  3. It scales from small to very large with ease- meaning it can easily be shared and viewed by half a million people. Niche-specific material isn’t good for viral marketing; it should be something that everyone can appreciate.

  4. It exploits common motivations and actions of people- meaning it should relate to everybody.

  5. It goes over pre-existing networks of communication- which is easy enough to understand. If it can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, email, etc, it gets an A+.

  6. Takes advantage of others’ resources- so you don’t need to work too hard every day to get it spread around; rather, it should spread by itself, with the help of other people linking it on their own.

The benefits of using these elements to craft your own viral marketing ad can be huge. These ads are usually inexpensive to make and can reach a vast number of people, more than a conventional advertisement would reach, and with far more engagement by the viewers. Of course, with the large advantages that come from this kind of ad, there’s also a risk of it failing. Luckily for you, Studio B has experience with viral videos and advertisements, and we can help craft one that will achieve your goals. We can partner with you and create the best experience for your consumers possible. Then you can watch it spread through the net.

To see what we can do for you, give us a call today at (510) 848-6026!

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