The Value of Viral Video

    Thinktank Social

    Like many others (37% of Australians according to the 2013 Sensis Study on Social Media), the first thing I do every morning is check my various social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website) to find out what’s happening.
    To stand out from the crowd, internet content has to be eye-catching to get its message out. These days, people are becoming more and more impatient about wordy, lengthy content. The more intuitive and interesting content is, the greater the chance of it becoming popular, spreading and maybe even going viral.
    Take the Dumb Ways to Die as an example, a public service announcement campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne. It appeared in newspapers, local radio, outdoor advertising, throughout the Metro Trains network and on Tumblr. If you live in Melbourne, especially if you take public transport, you’ve noticed the campaign for a while.
    The campaign went viral through sharing on social media starting in November 2012. By now, the video has achieved 53,815,387 views on YouTube.
    This campaign was vastly successful (with no media cost), so let’s take a deep analysis to learn why. Here I say deep analysis, but in fact, from my perspective, the reasons are simple. Super-cute animation paired with a catchy song is highly attractive to people in all age groups. The video is on YouTube and thus shareable on most social networks. Let’s go back to the point at the very beginning that people, like me who check online updates every now and then, would most likely share the video seen on friends’ posts, which then drives more and more friends to share it.
    All right, I know I’ve talked enough about this Dumb Ways to Die. Besides the initial objective, promoting safety tips of public transport to residents, the video has further become wide spread (even many of my friends back in China know about it).
    Government uses media for social benefits and non-profit, while businesses use it to obtain higher conversion rate, which means organisations need to learn how to use social media wisely.
    It’s pretty clear the future of social media is increasingly making use of video. Plain images and text can hardly beat involved videos with compelling and interactive content (which might include proper background music as well). Refer to the success of the Metro campaign: the primary tip of making a great video promotion is eye-catching content. Social media marketing is about attracting a network of people who get value from the content that you post online.
    Photo and text statuses are also important to a well-rounded marketing campaign, but videos – because of their dynamic, compelling nature – pull the viewer in and give a more complete idea of your company, as well as its products or services, than a static post ever will. Plus, video marketing allows you to show your creativity and company values to a greater extent than text or images.
    Secondly, to make content social media friendly, it can be shared across various social networks. Research by Pew Internet shows that more and more people across various demographics are watching online video. This is astounding: it doesn’t matter if your client base is preteens or grannies, they’re likely to watch videos on the Web. And, of course, you want to be where your customers are.
    A full 57% of online video viewers share links of the videos they find online with others. Few are consistently finding content that’s compelling enough to share on a daily basis – just 3% send video links to others every day – but roughly one in three online video viewers will share links at least as often as a few times per month.
    Video has better conversion rates than you imagined. According to Retail Touchpoints, the Step2 Company found that shoppers who viewed video were 174% more likely to purchase than viewers who did not (Retail Touchpoints Channel Innovation Awards, 2012).
    The problem is people get impatient if videos are lengthy. So please keep in mind to make your videos interesting enough to attract your audience but also ensure it’s meaningful.
    As Instagram has incorporated video, it may just be a harbinger of sponsored advertising posts in the future of the world’s most popular photo sharing app. What are you waiting for, companies? Go make some videos, and get rock in social media!