"Viral video" is the new hip buzzword advertised by most marketers and ad agencies. Brands are demanding videos that can make their product go "viral" on social media. But what does viral video even mean? What makes a video go viral? Is it how many views it has? Or how soon it got that high viewership? Are successful viral videos generally long or short in length?
There's a lot to unfold here. Back in the day, viral content was a stroke of luck. However, over the years, marketers have studied and analyzed thousands of such videos to crack the magic formula that makes a video viral.
What Is A Viral Video?
Remember Buzzfeed's Tasty videos that were all over your Facebook feed? They were short, simple, and informative videos designed specifically for social media sharing. Most of them included mouth-watering delectables and how to make them. The success of these videos made up almost half of Buzzfeed's annual revenue, justifying their virality.
Viral videos are those that gain traction swiftly and are shared multiple times through social media. Their virality depends on these videos reaching people who wouldn't usually see your content. It's word-of-mouth marketing at its best. And if the video is excellent, it may get picked up by larger publication syndicates and continue to spread like wildfire.
Here's an example of a Buzzfeed video that's short, sweet, and serves a single purpose: to teach the viewer how to make cloud eggs. The music, length of the video, and simple instructions are all critical ingredients of the viral video creation process.
All this is great for theory, but what about practical! What do you need to create a viral video?
There's a lot that goes into it. But for this article, let's explore these three:
- Video editor - knowing how to use one
- Video captions - knowing how to write them
- Video marketing - knowing how to make it work for you
Let's explore them in a little more detail.
Marketing team of one? Not a video expert? Not sure how to edit videos, don't have access or budget for a video studio? Is no bona fide video specialist available to help you direct, shoot, and cut your about-to-be viral video? Fret not!
Here are recs for the top five best pieces of video editing software or video editor apps for beginners—from cheapest (almost free!) to most expensive. Let's dive in!
1. Apple iMovie
One of iMovie's most appreciated features is its green-screen, or "chroma-key" tool. This allows you to place your characters in exotic locations—Paris, say—at a moment's notice.
Lumen5 converts your blog posts into videos that can be shared on social media. There are a lot of templates, and the tool is pretty easy to use.
3. Filmora from Wondershare
Filmora comes with almost everything, including an intuitive and easy-to-use design, along with filters, overlays, motion elements, transitions, and a small selection of royalty-free music.
The excellent quality of InVideo is that it has no watermark on its videos, even if you're on the free plan. If you're starting out and not looking to spend a ton of money on software, InVideo is an excellent bet.
5. Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is perhaps one of the complete pieces of video editing software out there. With a wealth of titling options, readily connected ancillary apps (such as Photoshop and After Effects), and a flexible, easy-to-use interface, Premiere Pro is a no-brainer for someone looking for more advanced-level video editing.
Engaging video captions can create more engagement and give you that viral video. Compelling captions shape your brand's story and personality. They help you highlight your sense of style and your brand's tone of voice. Such captions help you connect with your audience and get them interested in your brand.
In short--video captions can help you elevate your video's and brand's social media success and give you your next viral video.
Follow these ten tips to write killer video captions:
- Put all your energy in the first sentence. This is your hook.
- Include a call to action. For example, "share this video."
- Write like a human, not a bot (there's enough of those already).
- Write these captions on a different doc. It helps with clarity.
- Describe, don't tell. 'Spicy mustard' color instead of 'yellow.'
- Sprinkle emojis to add some extra flavor to your captions.
- Consider the length. There's no correct number, so use your judgment.
- Use hashtags, especially if you're sharing your video on Instagram.
- Give some value in your caption, something that the user can take away.
- Use the right keywords without compromising on the quality of the caption.
This deserves a whole different article in itself. However, to make a viral video, you'll have to have some knowledge of video marketing. Let's look at some stats to validate its importance:
- Hubspot found that 78% of people watch online videos every week, while 54% watch videos every day.
- Google's research shows that 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television.
- YouTube states that its users view more than 1 billion hours of video each day on the platform.
Now that the importance of video marketing is established let's look at some steps that can help you get started with it.
Step 1: Know your audience.
You must know who you're talking to if you want to be successful at video marketing. List out all the characteristics of your persona and speak to that one person through your video.
Step 2: Put a plan in place.
Video marketing cannot be sporadic. Put a plan, maybe a calendar, in place. Doing something consistently increases its chances of going viral.
Step 3: Choose the right tools.
The video editor tools mentioned above can help you get started. You can use Canva to design graphics for your video.
Step 4: Put goals in place.
Your videos are supposed to deliver some value to your overall marketing objectives. What are those goals? Define them clearly.
Step 5: Analyze performance.
Analyze how every video is performing. What's working and what isn't. The more you study and analyze, the sooner you'll be able to learn what it takes to create that sweet viral video.
How To Make A Video Go Viral?
If you're a creator, you have questions such as:
How to make a Youtube video go viral?
How to make your video go viral on Tiktok?
No one magic formula can make your video go viral. However, here are some tips that can lead to it--this applies to whether you're making videos on YouTube or Tiktok.
1. Evoke emotions
One of the reasons why any content goes viral is because it evokes some emotion. This could be negative such as Kendall Jenner's Pepsi ad. That video got millions of views because it upset people. One could argue that all press is good press. Still, in an ideal scenario, you'd like your video to elicit positive emotions and go viral for spreading joy, cheer, and positive energy.
For example, this woman's Chewbacca video went viral only because of her laughter that is so contagious. The video can make a grumpy person laugh, and that's viral-worthy.
2. Be strategic
There's a common misconception that videos go viral organically. While that may be true for some, that's usually not how it happens. You may have to put in some bucks to boost it before it blows off (and that's if the video is perfect). This is where your content creation and distribution come into play.
For example, this woman's dance video went viral because she intentionally tried to get traffic to it from different popular platforms. The trick happened when someone got a hold of it on Reddit.
3. Stick to short
Chances that a 15-minute or 30-minute video may go viral are thin. The content has to be hands-down super engaging and entertaining for that to happen. Today, attention spans are short, and your users want the fun thing now. So, short, simple, crisp videos stand a better chance of going viral than long ones.
4. Be mindful of the time
The time you post your video is just as important as its content. This is where strategy comes in. Most people consume social media during the weekdays when they're scrolling their feeds during lunch or that 5-minute coffee break. If they enjoy what they see, the chance that they'll forward that video to their coworkers and friends is high, and this is what you need to create a viral video.
5. Leverage current events
This comes down to content creation. Is there any specific event or day coming up that you can use to create and post great content? For example, May 4 is often known as "Star Wars Day"--that Chewbacca video during that time would have been perfect.
6. Engage, engage, engage
Creating and posting the video isn't enough to make it go viral. You need to share it and engage with your audience that is watching the video. As a creator, you may have to build that initial traction yourself before someone else picks it up.
These are some essential tips that can help you create content that can go viral on YouTube and Tiktok, maybe, even Instagram. It's about being strategic and creative with your video content.
How A Great Explainer Video Can Elevate Your Business
We asked entrepreneurs and industry professionals as to how an explainer video has helped their respective businesses grow. Here's what they said.
Our explainer video on “our company” page is a quick short video explaining what we do, and how we serve homeowners. We show different types of houses we have bought in disarray and tell our audience that it’s okay if their house looks like that.
Their situation is more important than the house and we went to ensure that we solve their problem. The house is just a piece of the puzzle. Our video is short and to the point. We created it ourselves, but it’s effective end our clients like the video.
Muhammad Ali Sangi
I myself have been working on my product reviews through Explainer Videos. It clears all the queries of your customers with an easy of understanding through simple videos. These are animated video that focuses on explaining various types of products or business and also concepts that can be tricky.
It simplifies the complicated and detailed theories and breaks them down into ideas that are easy to digest. It might help in reaching an audience with more interest, as Explainer Video sometimes can be fun with the creativity and hard work done by the team.
Our latest video was made by our in-house videographer, Nikki. I had requested this video as there is a lack of information surrounding our use of aquatic leather and why non-synthetic alternative leathers are so important. The video was filmed across 3 hours of Rory, our head leather worker, making a cardholder.
I think a large part of the success behind this explainer film is that the videographer, Nikki understands the crafting process already as she works alongside our leather team on a daily basis. She knows exactly which parts of the crafting process are most beautiful and how to film them. These beautifully captured shots of Rory's meticulous work are highly engaging as people are always amazed to see highly skilled hands making something beautiful.
My favorite explainer video is one from Slack. The video is relatable without being overly promotional. Absolutely no words are spoken, which makes the video even more unique, and intriguing. I love the visuals, the background music, the animation, and how clearly the message is brought out.
The process of writing and producing our explainer video created a marketing tool that has been consistently useful to our company. However, the creation process yielded secondary benefits because our team was forced to contemplate the manner in which we portray our brand.
Through the video script and style, we had to accomplish the goals of communicating the product, yet show that our solution is useful and relevant for both demographics of our users: frontline employees and their managers.
Many explainer videos or other marketing material have too long of introductions—articles and videos have a long winded introduction and sentences tend to be filled with added fluff. Our video was created to be short, which shows respect for the business owners using the app. Business owners schedules are already filled with enough to-dos; we don’t want to take anymore time away from them.
Our other goal was to show how a business owner actually uses the app. While generic marketing material would have shown one of our many cool features within the app, we wanted the video to really hit the basics.
A customer of ours made one of the coolest and catchiest videos I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely in my top five all year. There is a lot to like about this video. The music grabs your attention, the scene changes are timed nicely to the audio. It makes me want to hire them, and obviously that is the goal.
Cylient created an explainer video in 2019 to help make this abstract concept come to life. Our unique approach to coaching—called Untying the Knot—was not at the forefront of our brand prior to creating this video. Now, we use this video as an introductory awareness-builder that helps people understand how they could use our Untying the Knot approach within their organization.
We worked with Digital Brew to build this video. We collaborated with them to create a script, storyboards and finally, animation. Each step in the process had a drafting, reviewing and revising phase. Digital Brew was great to work with and very friendly throughout the process.
A good explainer video takes a complicated product and service and explains it to a 5-year-old in 2 minutes or less.
It has a lot of things really well:
1. It is relatively short (just over a minute)
2. It explains both what the product does and its benefits to users succinctly.
3. The graphics reinforce the explanation but uses subtle easter-eggs and humor to keep viewers engaged.
4. The visuals and color palette are strong correlated to the Dropbox brand.
One downside: It doesn't have a strong call-to-action at the end. However, that may have been a conscious choice by the client.
Why have an explainer video in the first place? That’s the question every marketing team should ask before ever kicking off a project. Great explainer videos are not easy. They take time and effort to complete, often taking time and resources away from other important initiatives.
Using our new home page video as an example, before holding even one planning meeting, we established a purpose for it: to set the stage for the rest of our story. So instead of just making the video, we first had to revamp our home page, develop new content, fine-tune our web infrastructure, update sales tools and more. What’s happened since?
Prospects are coming to our website, watching the video and converting into customers—really the only result that matters.
Create That Viral Video Today!
When it comes to the formula of creating a viral video, there really isn't one that may leave you thinking that some of the success has to do with luck and that maybe videos go viral by accident. Very few marketers have mastered the art of creating viral content on purpose. What is for sure known is that it has to appeal to the target's emotions, no matter their type (happiness, sadness, anger, joy, love, etc.).