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What Are The Chances of Going Viral?

July 21st, 2011 | Categories: Blog

“Charlie bit my finger.” “Friday.” “Numa Numa.” “David after Dentist.”  What do all of these random sentences have in common? They are the titles of videos that have gone viral on YouTube.

What’s viral video? HeadStandMedia.com explains that “Certain videos, most often comedic or astounding in nature simply go viral or spread like wild fire through many person to person channels that exist online.” (Remember Chris Crocker’s “Leave Britney Alone!” which gained 2 million views in just 24 hours?) Those person to person channels may be in the form of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, or Digg, or through e-mail or instant messaging.

Viral videos have the power to impact our culture. And that is the reason why film companies are specializing in online video marketing. Even top brands have dreams of going viral. But are these dreams a probability, or a pipe-dream?

In a July 14 newsletter MediaPost Publications, Alison Provost wrote that the probability of an online video going viral is as certain as winning the lottery, or “capturing lightening in a bottle.”

“Only 1 in 500 of the online videos that brands produce gets more than 500,000 views,” Provost said. What exactly does that mean? Provost explains that it is like spending $250,000 to play a $10 million lottery, which she said is a common price companies pay to produce a viral video.

So, how can companies keep from spending beaucoup bucks on digital media that most people glaze over? Provost suggests spending less time on entertainment, and more time on information. In fact, she reports that 60% of online searches are for information. With free sites like Hulu.com, and Metacafe.com, it is easy to see how a free entertaining movie featuring a product may be funny, or even dazzlingly clever, but unless it’s the type of video that makes you think “I’m going to post this on my Facebook page” or link to Twitter, it most likely isn’t going viral.

Think about it. If you are searching on Google.com, or typing something into Yahoo Search, you’re most likely seeking information fast. While you might check out a funny video, most likely you’re going to click on that movie if it gives you information of some sort.

What are some things to remember when considering online video marketing?

1.) Going viral is like playing the lotto.

2.) People are looking for information in online search engines more than entertainment.

3.) Expand your search terms. Think beyond generic. Get more specific.

4.) Teach your brand. People are looking for information, so online searches are a perfect way to lead those information-seekers to your video!

5.) Have fun! Providing information doesn’t have to be boring. Maybe you’ll even go viral. Check out videos from T-Mobile‘s Online Advertising Campaign.

Your friends at MVP Video Production

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