What Qualities Make a Video Go Viral?



Recently we were invited to begin working with a company that designs and markets protective cases for consumer electronic devices.  They showed us a homemade video series that their partner manufacturer was doing to promote the incredible protective nature of their iPad and Laptop cases.  In one video they drop a 12lb bowling ball on the iPad in its case.  In another they drop an iPad in its case out of a plane from 500 feet.  In both instances the devices emerge unscathed.   A truly high-impact use of video and one we suspect has a good chance of going viral.  You can view them both below.

iPad dropped from Airplane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKNdknJI53Q&w=560&h=349

Bowling Ball Dropped On iPad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjacWefOnbk&w=560&h=349

This got us asking a lot of questions about what qualities make a video go viral?  So I hit up the Visible Measures list of each weeks top 10 viral videos which is a great resource for keeping tabs on what videos really take off virally each week.  My take away is this:  In order for a video to go viral in needs to exhibit one or more of the following qualities:

  • Humor - Probably the number one factor - if it's funny people will forward it
  • Shock Factor - something that people can't take their eyes off - which is where the above iPad videos could get some traction.
  • Sex - Not literally, but something suggestive like this SmartWater video starring Jennifer Aniston that had the the  joke title "Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape"
  • Organic - something that is staged is less likely to go viral I think that something catching people in real life.
  • Timeliness - A video that captures a relevant topic in the news will obviously get a bump from that news coverage - this T-Mobile video spoofing the recent royal wedding is currently number one on Visible Measure and it's no surprise why.
  • Luck - let's not forget the biggest factor of all - remember you can't MAKE any video go viral - only the public can.

One thing remains true however...there's is probably no faster or cost effective way to achieve awareness for your product than a video that achieves that special status.



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