The Secrets of Viral Video Marketing

The Secrets of Viral Video Marketing

Philippa Dods
17 October 2018

According to a recent study by Cisco, by 2019, video is predicted to account for more than 80% of all website traffic. In addition, according to ComScore, after seeing branded video content, 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product online. Taking into account the stats as well as the power of video that we’ve seen influence us personally, there’s no doubt about the value that video holds for marketers.

However, more than 65% of all online video is skipped or simply scrolled past.

Thankfully, to help ensure our content isn’t relegated to the depths of the internet, we were lucky enough to partner with one of India’s top marketers,‘s Vice President, Aashish Chopra for a webinar on The Secrets to Viral Video Marketing. He is an award-winning viral video marketer, having made and marketed videos with millions of shares and views.

Finding the Method to the Madness

Firstly, it must be said that there is no silver bullet to virality. Rather, the steps that will follow are taken from years of Chopra’s experience in video marketing and identifying what works best and why – what he’s found to be “the method to the madness.”

In our country, internet and mobiles are cheap, accessible and common. India’s Internet base is set to touch 730 million by 2020 and of that, 75% of these new users are expected to consume data in their local languages. By 2020, India will have an estimated 702 million smartphones in use. What that means is there will soon be over 700 million data consumption devices. Take one ride in the Metro and you’ll notice just about every single person on their mobiles consuming data.

Chopra says, “video content is going like crazy in India and it’s an exciting and revolutionary time to be in.”

With all this excitement, though, there is a massive challenge too. Overwhelming content density means consumers are seeing already-chaotic newsfeeds, there’s too much competition between brands – everyone can and is creating content, only truly remarkable content will survive, consumers have lost trust of brands, and their “28-tabs-open “attention spans are decreasing.

Simply put, content has to pierce through the noise and be authenticly remarkable, to be viewed, let alone go viral.

How Do You Make Something Viral?

There’s a wrong focus on virality. It’s important to understand that viral is an outcome – the consumer, not the content-creator, makes something viral. What you are in control of is the action or creation. For example, a sprinter is in control of training hard enough so that the outcome is a gold medal. Once you understand that, we can dive into the secrets of creating compelling content to achieve virality.

The Secrets

1. Is it Share-Worthy?

The platinum word for virality is share-worthy. The key to getting your content in front of anyone is to have it shared, and not just by you, but by everyone who sees it and the community at large. This starts with your friends and colleagues, whether there’s twenty of them or two thousand – everyone has to share it, and want to share it, for it to be seen by the broader community.

Shares matter more than views ever will. In today’s digital age, anyone can buy advertising space or boost their content – but when someone shares your content; that’s an endorsement. That is someone agreeing with a concept or brand so much that they want the message on their timeline. That can’t be bought.

For instance, this video, “How to Speak Bengali in a Minute,” saw thousands of comments and shares, friends tagging and sharing with their friends, colleagues or anyone they know who is Bengalese. The share-worthiness of the video comes from the fact that it celebrates a culture and a language, it’s short, sharp and humourous, while making it easier for people to love it because they can relate to it. With over 3 million shares and a reach of 51, 5 million, it is a video that is evidently share-worthy and was shared with Indians all over the world.

2. Move Fast and Engage

Audiences are making up their mind about your content within the first three seconds of seeing it. If you’re not capturing attention immediately, you’re going to be just another scrolled-past video on a full newsfeed.

Ensure you aren’t creating videos that are longer than three minutes. Depending on the storyline of your video, anywhere between 30 seconds and one and a half minutes is the perfect amount of time to get your message across and keep the attention of your audience. Chopra says, “Reality is so different to cinema houses – audiences aren’t sitting in dark rooms with three-hour attention spans. They have a million things to do. Get and keep their attention from the very first second.”

Top Tip: First impressions are everything, so to make sure your viewer’s first impression is impactful, put the “aha moment” or exciting part of your video as the video’s thumbnail. That way, you’re much more likely to get clicks. Once they’re watching, you get a second chance at a first impression – this is the quality or “stickiness” of your content, which will ultimately lead to shares.

3. Storytelling Beats Production Value

As discussed, there are close to 700 million smartphones in India. As video creators, this is great news. No one needs to spend millions of rupees on production costs anymore, because videos are mostly watched on really small screens. What has taken over in importance, is the art of storytelling.

What’s amazing about this video, “What’s inside the bag of an Indian student travelling abroad?” is that it cost a total of Rs 3 500 and was produced 100% in-house. This video got 1 million views in its first week but it then plateaued. Interestingly, today, it has 7 and a half million views. This shows us that occasionally even incredible content is not going to succeed immediately, but it will eventually.

4. Make For Mobile

On that note; take a look around. Everyone is consuming content on their mobiles. Making content for mobile means taking into consideration the size of the screen – are you shooting your videos in horizontal view, vertical view, or square size? What pixels are you shooting in? If it’s too high, will it buffer, and if it’s too low, will it look pixelated? Both are the bane of existence of your audience.

Think front-and-centre and clutter-free – it’s a tiny screen and your audience is already distracted.

5. Distribution Strategy

It’s vital to understand and plan for how you are going to distribute your video content in achieving virality. A couple of points to consider are:

  • Day/Time: Why would Monday lunchtime be better than Tuesday evening?
  •  Mulitple versions: Create different versions for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp.
  • Initial seeding: Incentivise your friends, colleagues and associates to share your content as soon as it’s released.
  • Facebook is the new YouTube: Boost after an organic peak, when you see shares organically increasing. If you aren’t getting organic shares, then spending money on it will be wasted.
  • Push: Push your best content out to mailers and notifications.
  • Outreach: Outreach to news sites and content bloggers (e.g. Buzzfeed) are hungry for great content. This step is hugely underrated and should not be forgotten about.

If you’re interested in finding out about how media intelligence can help inform your marketing strategy – including video and content creation – get in touch with the Meltwater India team today.