Do you really want a viral video?

 In content marketing, video blog strategy, Vlog Pod Vlog

What is your target when it comes to your online video strategy? Is part of your dream to have that one video that goes viral? Perhaps it is because you cannot control whether a video will go viral, that having a viral video has become a bit of a holy grail. But in terms of having a viral video as part of your online strategy, there are a few things you might want to consider.

The term Viral video gets thrown around a lot but there is no clear definition on exactly what constitutes a viral video. Its not clearly defined in terms of how many views it needs to be considered viral. But essentially the term refers to an online video that gets shared around through social networks and generates a high number of views in a short timeframe. This makes viral videos, by even a loose definition, a “flash in the pan” kind of event. One minute everyone’s sharing it, the next minute you’re sick of having your social media clogged with the samevideo link again and again. So whilst they might be fun first time round, a negative connotation can be associated as the novelty wears off.

Not only that, butmost viral videos are not part of a marketing strategy! Most often they are entertaining short videos that are watched without the expectation of a call to action. People are predominantly not watching a viral from a purchasing mindset, rather theyre looking for a few moments to brighten their day, or to be amazed them in some way. Check out some of the viral video collections on YouTube to see how many are “funniest home video” type clips and how few are from deliberate campaigns.

Apart from that, using a viral video as part of an online video strategy can be risky. People dont like being duped so creating a viral video which in the end turns out to be a fake or a hoax may end up with unwanted results. And in the online age, it doesnt take long for people to find out things are faked! The fashion retailer Witchery learnt the hard way that you cant fake a viral video during their girl and the jacket campaign in 2007. After it was unveiled that campaign was a hoax – with actors pretending – the campaign collapsed on itself as people responded negatively to being treated like fools.

Even if the viral video is successful in terms of grabbing a stack of views, and hasn’t been “faked” to get that viral edge, viral video success does not necessarily mean commercial success. One of the biggest viral campaigns ever was the Kony 2012 video produced by Invisible Children Inc. Whilst the video generated millions of views, it also generated immense scrutiny, and in the end, the call to action somewhat flopped as people became confused and dubious about the whole project as it was thrown into the spotlight.

Having a viral video might not be one of the tools you want in your online video strategy tool box. But despite that, what you do want is for your videos to be viral in the right way. This means working to increase the likelihood of your videosbeing shared in the right places to hit the goals of your online video strategy. And you can read about that here.


Ben Amos
Ben is Creative Director of Innovate Media, Founder of Vlog Pod® and lead video strategist for Engage Video Marketing. He has a passion for online video marketing, telling great stories, spending time with his family and learning new things.
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