So, you’ve finally unlocked that additional digital marketing budget and you’re thinking about investing in video content? Excellent idea!

However, if you are still weighing out you different content options, these stats should convince you that video is the way to go:

viral video marketing

But first… what does viral mean anyways? 🦠

Although “viral” has been a buzzword for a while now, let’s go over a quick definition so that you can understand  the mechanisms behind any piece of viral content.

Virality was born in the age of social media. The “sharing” features on most social platforms allow users to highlight their favorite content to their networks. For example, users can retweet, repost, share an Instagram post with a friend via private message or tag someone under a video they think they might enjoy.

Online, “going viral” means that a piece of content—and yes, usually it is a video—is being shared so often and so quickly that it reaches a high number of Internet users within a short period of time.

This means the video is seen outside of a brand’s initial community of fans or followers, without spending any advertising budget on reaching a wider audience.

But how does a video go viral, you ask? Let’s try to get to the bottom of this 👇

What makes a video marketing campaign viral? 🧐

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof formula to making a specific video go viral. But this is also why digital marketing is so exciting!

However, you can set your video up for success if your goal is to go viral to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or simply to promote a new product.
To go viral, a video should resonate with its initial audience, which means it should be relatable by expressing what people think or describing something they’ve experienced better than they could.

A piece of viral video marketing content usually also triggers either strong positive emotions such as joy, excitement or awe, or more negative feelings like fear or sadness. Check out this study by FRACTL if you would like to know more about the psychology behind social media sharing.

You should also know that to go viral, a video should be very timely. Remember trends come and go on the internet. Videos that go viral usually do an excellent job of capturing the here and now.

Lastly, more than traditional, in-your-face online marketing, viral videos usually show a more human side of the company behind it. As a marketer, try to take a step back from your corporate world and come up with content that showcases your brand’s personality in a genuine way.

Our favorite recent viral video marketing campaigns 💙

Now that you know more about viral videos and how to make your own, why not check out some inspiring examples to get your creative juices flowing?

Check out some of our favorite recent examples we've compiled below.

DollarShaveClub.com - Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Virality on a budget: The company spent just $4,500 for a video that generated 12,000 subscription orders in the first 2 days after it was posted and 4.75 million views within 3 months.

Always - #LikeAGirl

The power of emotions (and a good hashtag): By using a hashtag as the title of its new video, Always is encouraging social media users to use this hashtag and as a result - are able track the impact of its campaign more easily. Plus, content that evokes emotions are almost guaranteed to perform well!

GoPro - Fireman Saves Kitten

Genuine content + animals = 🔥: Internet users look for entertainment and cat/ dog videos are almost always a sure winner. Ever heard of Jiffpom, the adorable Pomeranian with 10 million Instagram followers?

In this video, using a GoPro also helps the audience project themselves into the story.

Code.org - What Most Schools Don’t Teach

An aspirational video: This nonprofit managed to convince both Bill Gates & Mark Zuckerberg to appear in a video promoting coding to students. In its first week, this video racked up 9 million views and within two weeks, about 20,000 teachers contacted the nonprofit 😱

GOTSTYLE - Naked Man

Because taking risks is worth it: Fun to watch and featuring a very handsome actor showing a lot of skin, this video has over 7 million views. This proves that being daring can be worth the risk... as long as you play your cards right!

Blendtec - Will It Blend?

Product promotion can get viral too: With this series of infomercials demonstrating the power of their blenders, Blendtec got 1 million subscribers on a dedicated YouTube channel and over 50 million views… And the first episode cost just $50 in production costs!

The dos and don'ts of viral video marketing 🙌

As we mentioned before, unfortunately, there is no way of predicting exactly which videos will go viral and why they do.

The good news, however, is that our dos and don’ts should help you create a video campaign that is set for social media success, so keep reading 🤓

Dos

  • Publish your video on the appropriate platform: while a challenge video would do great on TikTok, a campaign launch video should be posted on YouTube. This platform has the widest audience and is the second largest search engine.

  • Make sure your video has the right format depending on the platform you choose. We also recommend including subtitles to help you get your point across. Actually, did you know that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound?

  • Remember that most social networks use an algorithm to sort posts in a users' feed based on relevancy instead of publishing time. The attention that a post gets right after being posted—which is measured by engagement metrics such as the number of likes, comments and shares—means it will be shown to more users who, in turn, might share it.

  • Another way to boost the potential reach of your post within the first hours after posting is asking influencers to share it. You definitely should also encourage your employees to share with their networks for some extra word of mouth!

Don'ts

  • Always double-check internally that your video isn’t offensive or controversial in a negative way. It’s a fine line between being bold and having to deal with a PR crisis 😬

  • On the other hand, being boring is not going to get your content shared either, so do take some risks 😉

  • If you are trying to piggyback off of a meme or any other pop culture reference, make sure it’s still relevant. Using a tool such as Google Trends can be helpful to help you find trending topics.

  • While you can totally make a viral video on a budget, it should meet some quality requirements. Your brand’s image is on the line here! If you lack resources, there are many helpful services and platforms that can help you create a high-quality video for less and without hiring an agency.

  • Lastly, don’t miss out on the additional benefits of your campaign. Always include a CTA either at the end of your video or in its description, or you may miss out on a significant amount of qualified leads or website traffic. Be smart and thorough 🤑

Over to you 👌

Creating a viral video marketing campaign isn’t impossible, but it does take some research, planning, and a spark of creativity.

Check out some of the awesome video examples we mentioned above and see if they’ll inspire you to create your own. Need some help to get started? Try out PlayPlay for free!