We’ve all seen them, and most probably all shared them. Over the last 10 years or so, viral videos have taken the Internet by storm. With over 700 videos shared on Twitter each minute, and 500 years of YouTube videos watched every day on Facebook, viral videos continue to amass millions of views at an incredibly fast rate. Shout!’s videos have had their fair share of shares, and over the last eleven years we have learned a lot about what makes or breaks online video. In this blog I’ll reveal some of our top tips, along with some of our favourite examples of viral video, so if you fancy a slice of the viral pie, keep reading!
Viral videos stand out from the crowd – but how? It might seem obvious, but one of the keys to standing out is producing footage that will grab the viewer’s attention. With people increasingly watching on their smartphones, tablets or laptops whilst doing other things in the background, viewers are often distracted. One of the ways to get around this is to provide the viewer with a visual spectacle – something new and fresh that they haven’t seen before, that grabs them right from the offset. One classic example of this is “Will it Blend?”, in which an eccentric scientist fella blends up various household objects, with impressive results. I mean- who doesn’t want to see what an iPhone looks like after being blended?!
Let’s face it- no one wants to watch dry, boring videos online. The simplest way to inject a bit of excitement into your PR video (read our related blog here) and give it a shot at going viral, is to make it funny. One great example of viral video that uses humour is DollarShaveClubs.com’s parody advert ‘Our Blades are F***ing Great!’ which hits the nail on the head. Using hilarious visual comedy, this video gained a relatively small brand massive exposure, reaching over 15 million views online. WARNING: Humour is very subjective, so try and be careful when coming up with your hilarious idea, as it could easily fall flat or even offend!
Viral videos are all about getting people talking- and here at Shout! , there’s nothing that gets us talking like those marmite love or hate videos, that use controversy to hammer home their message! Popular among government agencies with hard-hitting messages, these videos often establish an idyllic setting, before shocking viewers with a hyper-realistic accident/ event. A great example of this is a recent video by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It certainly did the job, as over two and a half million people watched the video, urging them to think twice about texting whilst driving.
On a lighter note, another way to drum up an instant audience for your video is to get some celebs involved. Celebrity culture is a huge part of modern life and with highly active fan communities on Facebook and Twitter, a relevant celebrity can really boost your view count, and get your video the exposure it deserves. This next example is one of our own videos – we filmed Disney stars “Lemonade Mouth” on a lively open top bus tour around London, promoting their new TV show. The video went viral with fans of the band and received over 100,000 views in the first week of being online. This PR video was produced in just half a day’s filming and a day’s edit, proving that big budgets aren’t necessary when creating quality video for PR.
For some bizarre and unexplainable reason, cute animals are a staple of the viral video. Whether it be cats, dogs, hamsters, or even sloths, cute animal videos rack up millions of views on YouTube every day and offer something that people from all cultures and nationalities can enjoy and collectively ‘awh’ at. One of our favourites was this video promoting International Sloth Week. For some reason we never tire of watching the sloth falling over at 1:18. Ah, the Internet.
Of course, all of the best virals use an eclectic cocktail of the above techniques to ensure their success! One great example of this is Volvo’s Lorry video. In the video, Jean-Claude Van Damme is seen balancing on two moving Volvo trucks, and eventually doing the splits as they move apart beneath his feet. Celebrity – Check. Visual Spectacle – Check. Humour- Check. Well you can understand why this video has accumulated almost 74 million views thus far then.
For more advice on creating compelling PR Videos, check out our Power of Video e-book or give us a call and we can make your brand go viral.