It’s no secret that people love online video, it’s engaging, personable and gives consumers a quick fix without them having to read through pages of text, (lets be honest, people can be lazy and who wants to search through reams of information when a handy little video can explain things for you?)
As the growth rates for traditional marketing channels slows down, online video ad spend is on the rise and with YouTube now the second largest search engine in the world, video is becoming an essential part of any website’s promotional activity; so if you haven’t mastered your video marketing strategy yet, now is the time to start!
The question is; where do you begin? The initial process might seem overwhelming, especially nowadays, with over 72 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute it’s becoming harder and harder to make your content stand out in the crowd.
We’ve been working with brands and agencies to seed viral ad campaigns for over 10 years now and we’ve seen a LOT of variation in style and quality along the way. You only have to spend 5 minutes on YouTube to relalise that quality is not necessarily synonymous with virality, but while there is no exact recipe to guarantee a viral smash hit, we’ve studied our clients campaigns to work out the science behind what makes a video go viral and put together a handy little guide to help marketers get to grips with their online video strategy.
5 STEPS TO MASTERING THE SCIENCE OF VIDEO MARKETING…
1 – Find out what makes your audience ‘tick’
It may sound obvious, but get to know your audience; think about who you want your video to attract and what kind of content they’re sharing with their friends. Online videos are increasingly used as a form of social currency these days, sharing them is a great way for people to start conversations, build credit within an online community or simply express themselves in a fun way.
We compile a weekly Viral Video Chart for The DRUM, with a rundown of the most popular online ads and user generated content in the UK, broken down by views and shares. This is a really handy way to get a feel for which videos are proving popular, over time you will start to spot trends or themes that could provide a great source of inspiration for some of your future campaigns.
It’s also worth checking out Google Insights for Search, a useful tool for analysing trending search topics. You can filter by type of search, location, time frame and category to see a list of the rising related search terms. This is a useful way to give you an insight into what your target audience is looking for and allow you to build some of those elements into your upcoming campaigns.
2 – Choose your angle
Start with a catchy concept, most viral videos fit into a range of thematic categories: Cute, funny, shocking, sexy, random or impressive, (although sometimes just using the right celebrity personality can be enough to boost the virality of your campaign.) As a rule the videos that have the highest sharing rate tend to illicit some kind of physical reaction from the viewer, (laughter, tears, gasps of shock are all pretty effective.)
It’s important not to be overly commercial with your message though. Brands can get away with this in a TV campaign because people accept that advertisements are part of their viewing experience, but online there are plenty of opportunities for viewers to click away from your message on to something more interesting, so you have to work harder to keep them engaged and over-baring branding or promotional calls to action are likely to put people off sharing your video with their friends.
Think about your core audience; it’s impossible to please everybody and if you make something that’s too general you risk it getting lost in the sea of online content, sometimes running a highly specific campaign that appeals to a niche audience can prove more effective at targeting the people who are most likely to engage with your brand or product – if someone finds your content personally relevant they are much more likely to share it with their peers.
Make sure you optimise your content for an online audience, there are some exceptions but we’ve found from the campaigns that we’ve seeded, that the most successful videos are between 30 seconds and 1 minute long. People have a short attention span these days, they want a quick fix that gives an instant pay off without them investing too many precious minutes of their day.
3 – Make a series
Online content is consumed at such a fast rate, it’s important to consider whether your audience will remember your message a few weeks down the line. Producing an interesting and innovative video will go some way to ensuring the longevity of your message, but digital audiences crave fresh content, so it’s worth considering producing a series of videos as part of your campaign. Remember the success of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign? Old Spice certainly got as much milage out of that one as possible!
You might want to think about doing a ‘behind the scenes’ clip about the making of the video, perhaps include a Q&A with the director and cast or use a concept that plays out over several instalments. A series like this will drive down your unit costs and give a better ROI, whilst also developing your online following, keeping you relevant and talked about.
4 – Optimise YouTube to boost your SEO
YouTube can be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of generating traffic for to your website. Web pages with embedded video are more likely to feature higher in Google search rankings and if done correctly, using the right keywords and tags on your video can significantly boost your site’s SEO.
If you have a couple of videos already, it’s worth setting up your own YouTube channel. Google interprets pages that are linked to from high traffic sites as more relevant in searches, so linking back to your site from videos on your YouTube channel can give you a real boost in search traffic.
5- Bring your audience to your video
Finally, a few words on self-promotion: A common mistake made by many marketers new to the world of online video is to upload content to their website and YouTube channel then sit back and wait for the world to find it. No matter how well optimised your video is or how awesome the content, this is a strategy that rarely works well. Without some serious behind the scenes promotion, most online videos would disappear into the ether and that precious budget that you invested into its production would be wasted.
While it is true that occasionally a video does happen to strike the right cord at the right time, becoming an overnight viral hit all by itself; most of the time, when you see a branded ad on YouTube with tens of thousands of views, it’s because a marketing team has invested the time and effort into cultivating the right online PR and seeding that content across the web to guarantee it gets seen by its target audience.
Whether you decide to use an agency like The Viral Ad Network to do it for you, or you want to learn to do it your self, learning about viral seeding is crucial for your online marketing strategy. Check out our beginners guide to viral seeding to get a bit more insight into how it works.
Tags: keyword tagging, online PR, Online video, Optimise YouTube, seed viral ad campaigns, seeding, seo, trending search topics, video marketing, video views, Viral marketing strategy, Viral Video Chart