Why Your Video Probably Won’t Go Viral

video production
Image courtesy of Movieing Memories on Flickr

Video is a powerful medium for storytelling. As companies compete for attention many are turning to video production to try to build brand equity and increase inbound web traffic.  Content developers are increasingly asked to make “viral videos” for their clients, and corporate media departments are struggling to keep up with the workload and the expectations. So here’s the truth.

Your viral video is a daunting, and probably impossible, task.

Videos go viral because of some unique combination of humor, entertainment and education. It’s a mystery why a piece of content is shared repeatedly across social networks, and the competition is becoming more intense than ever.

Here’s why.

According to a recent Pew Research study the percentage of adults who upload a video has doubled. Mobile phones have become part of this video experience, making it easy to record everyday events and post them to a social media site like Facebook or YouTube. The advent of video apps such as Vine and the inclusion of video in photo sharing social networks like Instagram is contributing to the clutter. Think of it this way. Your brand’s “viral video” is now competing with everything. Posts from friends, status updates from your spouse, sports clips, news events, quirky cards – you get the idea. For a video to go “viral” it has to be better than ALL that content. More compelling, more thought provoking, more humorous. See where I’m going?

So what’s a social media marketer to do?

Don’t despair. As part of an overall content marketing strategy, investment in video production is still a good idea.  78% of internet users watch or download online videos. With a little planning, brand videos have a long shelf life.  If optimized well and thought out, they can be the content gift that keeps on giving  – repeatedly drawing a new audience from search.

What’s the most popular video content being consumed?


Comedy, educational videos and “how to” videos.

Comedy is tough. Get it right and you’re off and running. The truth is most of the time comedy falls flat. Then, you’ve hurt your brand in your lame attempt to entertain. Instead, edutain. Use your resources on educational and “how to.” That type of useful content will keep visitors coming, since the utility remains strong long after publication.

So instead of worrying about how to make the next trendy viral video, make videos that help your customers learn something. Show them how to use your product or solve a problem.  Be useful.

Useful and helpful will ALWAYS be trendy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.