Spreading a video virus across the web

This week’s blog is inspired by the increasing number of shared video content which let’s face it, in this digital age, we can’t really avoid. The sharing and re-sharing of videos via email and through Facebook and Twitter have undoubtedly given rise to the phenomenon of theses ‘viral’ videos.

It goes without saying that shared video content is more popular than ever before, with more than 48 hours worth of video being uploaded to You Tube every single minute. Given that You Tube is the most popular video sharing website on the web and only six years old, there is huge potential for virtually any video content to go viral.

A viral video is quite simply a video that becomes popular through internet sharing. As a platform for sharing, social media lends itself and has certainly triggered the drastic increase that we have seen over the last few years. Two of the most viral You Tube videos last year were Kony 2012, which received more than 100 million views in six days, and Gangnam Style, which according to Unruly Media was shared 29 million times!

For businesses it has become a widely used marketing tool; viral marketing dates back to the mid-1990s when marketers wanted to create slogans or taglines that would be spread through word-of-mouth. The latest form of this ‘infectious’ marketing is viral video, which is commonly used as part of a campaign these days.

So what does it take for a video to go viral? I really don’t think there is an answer, there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason if we look at some of the videos that have gone viral in previous years. It sounds obvious, but shareability is the most important element; the content needs to contain something that deals with topical subjects or characters of importance to people in a cultural context – someone or something that people would want to share and discuss. If the content relates to anything that people are already talking about then it’s bound to be a big hit. Additionally, it needs to be easy to share, so made in a format and tone that users would want to share.

Here are some interesting statistics about viral video, which are quite fascinating:

More than 3 billion videos are viewed each day on YouTube
71% of smartphone users have searched after seeing an online video advert
Fewer than 10% of the population will always skip online video advert
10 billion video adverts were viewed by Americans in May 2012
100 million people take a social action on YouTube every week
700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute
38% of online videos adverts are more memorable than traditional televisions adverts
243% of videos increase the time spent on a webpage

What’s your favourite viral video? Let us know!

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