Creative agency Seedwell specializes in creating viral videos. They believe it is hard to define criteria for what is or isn’t a viral video. Most of us assume viral videos are those that get millions of views in a short amount of time, but that’s not always the case. According to Seedwell and Unruly Media a video is considered viral when it gets 8,500 views in 24 hours. These videos do share a common theme, structure and tastemakers. The theme is typically a parody of something popular, something cute or something that makes you ask “did that really just happen?” As far as structure goes there is usually an element of surprise or anticipation, which takes the viewer on a variation of different emotions. The tastemakers, people/celebrities with huge influence, can make a video go viral by posting it or endorsing it. “The key is making a video that elicits a strong enough emotion or reaction from a group of people that they feel compelled to share it with others,” Seedwell says.
My favorite viral videos are the ones that make me laugh. For example, The Dollar Shave Club YouTube video has more than 4.5 million views since the beginning of March. There are multiple elements of humor as well as moments of surprise.
Kony 2012 has to be one of the fastest watched videos of the year. It was viewed by more than seven million people in it’s first two days and now has reached more than 89 million views. I personally haven’t seen the video but I think the most impressive viral aspect is how it is a 30-minute documentary. Most viral videos are short in length and get right to the point. It is clear that the purpose of the video was to pull at people’s emotions and get them to form a movement against the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
I had to throw something sports related into this post. I absolutely love ESPN’s new “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports” commercial featuring Michael Jordan. The funny thing about this video is that it’s not about the greatest basketball player of all time. It’s about a regular white guy who just happens to have the same name. It was so popular because everyone could relate to hearing the name Michael Jordan and getting excited and then realizing that it’s not Air Jordan.
My advice for people trying to create viral videos would be to make sure they are funny. I personally try to add elements of humor into my videos as often as I can. Like the guys from Seedwell said, there should also be elements of shock because it will keep you more interested because you’re not sure what’s going to happen.