The viral success of video ads

Social video is changing the rules of advertising. Advertising is changing from disruption to content that people are themselves sharing with their friends on the internet. According to the provider of social video marketing Unruly, the number of ad videos shared on the internet has taken to new heights in the last year – the three most shared video ads alone achieved over 11.6 million shares. The study shows that users don’t care whether the video has a commercial background or not. The decisive factor is how strong the emotions are that the videos trigger among the viewers.

According to the European platform for social video advertising Ebuzzing, humour is one of the most important factors, but as Unruly explains, it should not be forced at all costs. Particularly social emotions like connectedness or the feeling of home make internet videos viral. Unruly researched the twelve most often shared video spots for the 2013 Super Bowl and discovered that the two most successful videos achieved so many shares on Facebook, Twitter and in blogs, because they tapped into emotions like social connectedness.

We have derived several principles for a high rate of sharing from the results of the Ebuzzing and Unruly studies:

  • The first impression counts: only those who secure user attention within the first five minutes, can be sure that the users will watch the video until the end or at least until the point has been made.
  • User attention is doubled by intelligently revealing the brand at the right time. Intelligent product placement also results in increased engagement and finally to three times more social media sharing.
  • User preferences differ depending on the situation in which the video is viewed and the device on which it is viewed. Thus advertisers should provide different content, formats and video durations for different playback devices.
  • The story is decisive: if it is well done, it captivates the viewers and thus generates the maximum amount of attention. Authenticity always wins out over artificial constructs.
  • In addition to the content of the video ads, the technical side is crucial when playing the videos. The features and adaptability of the video player to various displays has a significant influence on the viral success of video ads.
  • Video content must be extremely funny if the goal consists of impressing people with humour and working well in social networks. Attempting to be funny at all costs all too often achieves exactly the opposite.
  • Especially on YouTube, a critical mass of viewers has to be reached within the first 24 hours after upload. The total number of shares strongly depends on the number of shares during the first three days that the video is online. The reason for this is the special algorithm, which measures the viral potential of a video within the first 24 hours. Once a certain threshold value has been exceeded, the video appears in the YouTube charts for the respective country and thus significantly increases the chances of going viral.
  • Sometimes videos just have to be seen and shared by the right people. Influencers can have a decisive impact on the viral success of a video. Therefore it can be important to consider the date on which a campaign is to be launched and ensure that the content is distributed across the right channels as quickly as possible.

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