Friday, November 23, 2012

What Makes a Viral Video. Buzzword: VIRAL

I usually can't help but roll my eyes whenever someone suggests that "We should make a viral video" or imply that "This video will be viral," because really? What's the Secret Sauce to creating a video with guaranteed 1,000,000 hits?

On the surface, three things:

Content for one is still king. What your video is about is the difference between how much people will be compelled to drop whatever their doing, take 2 to 3 minutes of their life just to simply watch your video, and let alone share it.

Who told you to watch the video? Is another factor. I know for a fact that I won't watch anything Z tells me to watch on YouTube because buffering takes light years with my internet connection. But if say I read a tweet from Darren Criss telling me to "ZOMG YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS IT'LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!" with all urgency, then that's a different story.

Relevance to my life. I won't watch a video about cats. No, seriously. I won't. But give me a link to a pinao-playing cat who will do a tutorial on smokey eyes then I will like it, share it, and watch it 3 times.

Add everything to the mix and a bit of hocus pocus called Science (the number of people sharing it, watching it, sharing it at the same time, the location of people sharing it, etc.) and you got yourself a viral video. This is not to say that no one really knows what makes something viral. Talking about it helps, yes. But are you relevant enough to recommend this video to a group of people who finds your video relevant enough to share it several times across countries?

Taking a cue from Mashable's 20 Top YouTube Video Memes aka Viral Videos, please allow me to share two of my favorite viral videos.

OK Go's Here It Goes Again

Why it went viral? You seriously haven't watched this video if you have to ask. Add a good song with a one-take video of guys performing a choreographed dance ON threadmills and tell me if the awesomeness of this video will not explode on your face. Seriously, you have to watch.

Also, OK Go is my favorite band. So it's extremely relevant to me.

Here's another example. I don't do laundry, but I consume their products. At that time, I don't care about the Olympics. But what made this video so powerful for me and 10,000,000 other people to share consecutively, profusely in 3 days?

It's about our moms. Aaaand it was constantly shared on my networking site composed mostly of moms.

Best Job in the World (P&G)

Hey, I'm not one to talk about what goes viral and what doesn't. I never even noticed my cellphone video of Jason Mraz singing Where Is the Love already has 37,000 views (granted it took 6 years for it to get there). 

Viral happens, but with foresight, with strategy, and most of the time with a bit of luck.

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