Want a super successful Video Marketing campaign? Here are the secrets.

How would you want your brand to be the talk of the town? This article shows you how, by tapping viral videos — the most potent marketing tool of all.

This past year, the word “viral” has entered, and exploded into the world’s consciousness. Technically, any concept can be hailed as “viral” — however, it has mostly been applied to videos, especially on social media. A viral video is one that spreads rapidly throughout the Internet, through social media, news, and other channels.

The term “viral” does not in itself mark the impact that these videos make. Many viral videos become such due to its tendency to entertain and make people laugh. However, they could just as easily be forgotten as something new comes along. This is why being “viral” should not be the first aim of any video, especially one that is marketing oriented. Being viral is just the vehicle — it is the payload, the video itself, that counts. And yet, the actual path to going viral remains to be one of the best-kept successful video marketing campaign secrets.

Read also: Top 7 Video Marketing Tips for 2017 — Straight From the Experts

The term “viral” does not in itself mark the impact that these videos make. Many viral videos become such due to its tendency to entertain and make people laugh. However, they could just as easily be forgotten as something new comes along. This is why being “viral” should not be the first aim of any video, especially one that is marketing oriented. Being viral is just the vehicle — it is the payload, the video itself, that counts. And yet, the actual path to going viral remains to be one of the best-kept successful video marketing campaign secrets.

What is a Viral Video?

But are there any prerequisites to any video being called “viral”? Here are some of the more commonly accepted definitions of the word.

  • It must reach 5 million views in a week. This definition was coined by Kevin Nalty, better known as YouTube comedian and celebrity Nalts. This is an update to the million views that would have marked a video as viral in the earlier days.
  • It must create talk around it. Aside from being popular in terms of views, true viral videos also get coverage from blogs, sites like Reddit, social media, and even mainstream media. These are the “talk of the town” videos that inspire even more views. Sometimes, the buzz comes first before the views. This is the case with Jimmy Kimmel’s tweet about the Double Rainbow video, which drove his followers to turn the video viral.
  • It must stay in the public’s mind. In today’s world of information overload, this may be the definitive definition of the word “viral”. A truly viral video is one that is remembered by the public a long time after they have seen it. It sticks, for one reason or another. Sure, the video may eventually be buried under an avalanche of new viral hits, but it should not simply disappear from the viewers’ minds without leaving as much as a trace.

In 2017, video will reach new heights. Studies show that almost 70% of all consumer traffic will be dominated by videos. Most of these will be mobile, which will have a growth spurt around 5 times faster than desktop. In terms of marketing, videos will have an overwhelming influence. A study says that landing pages with videos convert up to 800%  better than others.

It is no wonder why many companies spend a lot of time and resources trying to get their videos to trend. The problem is, the focus is just as often on how to make the video go viral rather than on how to make the video be worth watching. Going viral, after all, depends on the people’s reaction to the video. In other words, you can’t strategize a poor video into going viral. The secret to trending lies in the creation of the video itself.

Learning from the Greats

In the history of the word (and even before its entry into our vocabulary), lots of advertisement campaigns have gone viral. Let’s take a peek into some of them, and let’s take a look at what made them such hits. From here, we can decipher the successful video marketing campaign secrets

  • Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign. Following its widely popular “Just Do It” tagline, the “Find Your Greatness” campaign became viral due to its positive nature. It was a picture of the ordinary man’s struggles to stay physically fit — something that most people can relate to. It deviates from the image of sports superstars doing great feats, to focus on something that resonates with the people. Because of this, the target market quickly picked it up and caused it to go viral.
  • Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” campaign. There is something to be said about fostering awareness and good values. This was the route Chipotle took when it created “The Scarecrow”, a highlight of its “Food with Integrity” campaign. Teaming up with an award-winning studio, the fastfood chain created an animated short and a mobile game aimed at raising awareness about various issues concerning industrial food production.

The campaign took on various social issues, and its eye-opening concept stirs the people who view the animated short. Without overtly advertising the brand, people understood the message and were made more aware of the things going on behind their meals. Since food is an everyday concept, the campaign had a massive appeal and reached more than 6 million views in less than half a month.

  • Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” campaign. Known for its high-flying, adrenaline-rushing videos, Red Bull’s campaign revolves around inspiring people to reach past their limits. Without being “emotional”, the campaign conveys the emotional high of exhilaration — something that the viewers also crave. This makes the video effective in reaching a wide audience. It represents an aspiration of breaking through barriers, feeling well despite the odds, and enduring past obstacles. Like Nike’s ads, these are things that people encounter everyday.
  • Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaigns. Specifically targeting women (Dove’s dominant market), the campaign also touches on something all females can relate to — this time, the concept of beauty. The success of this campaign is phenomenal — garnering more than 114 million views and almost 4 million shares in the first month alone. In the videos, the traditional concept of beauty is questioned, showing that the stereotypical views are not necessarily the correct ones. It is something that inspires confidence in its viewers, showing how women are truly more beautiful than how they see themselves. This is the core of the video that made one of the best uses of successful video marketing campaign secrets

Aside from this fact, Dove has another trick up its sleeve. It uploaded the campaign to a global audience, localizing in 25 languages found in the company’s 33 YouTube channels. This gave the video a massive reach in more than 100 countries. This made the message clear to everyone, even those who did not speak English. The campaign was not a victor in viewer’s minds alone. It won the Titanium Grand Prix in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the highest such honor. This puts the Dove marketing campaign in a class above the rest.

  • GoPro’s “Fireman Saves Kitten” video. Instead of a complete campaign, this viral video is a one-off for GoPro. Otherwise, the company is known for first-person videos of skiers, snowboarders, surfers, and the like. In mid-2013, however, things took a more dramatic turn (quite literally).

During this time, a firefighter from Fresno, California rescued a kitten while wearing a Hero 3 camera. The kitten died from smoke inhalation afterwards, but the act of heroism gained more than 1.5 million YouTube views in weeks. When GoPro noticed, it branded the video and released it into its own channel. In a single week, the video got more than 5 million views.

This is an example of how an emotionally-charged video — especially one that is true-to-life — can be an effective tool for disseminating a marketing message. GoPro hence has a real-life proof of “being there” when the important things happen.

The Secrets To Going Viral

As expected from the way the previous examples are presented, going viral does not depend on the low-level marketing tactics like determining the time when a video should be posted, or paying to get the video promoted. These may help, but only if the following prerequisites are present in the video itself. Check out this list of successful video marketing campaign secrets

  • It must be emotional. Where there is emotion, there is the potential to be noticed. “Emotional” here does not mean something that will reduce the viewers to tears. It can be something as high-flying as Red Bull’s evocation of exhilaration, and it can be as grounded as Nike’s portrayal of everyday struggles. The human emotion consists of a very wide spectrum, and tapping into this will be the first thing that will hook your viewers into your video.

Come to think of it — no matter how great the message your video puts forth, if it does not have a “heart”, it is as good as dead. An emotional aspect is the easiest and most efficient means to influence your viewers. Videos are like any other stories — they are best conveyed and repeated over and over again if they are heartfelt and engaging.

  • It should not be overtly promotional. As a marketer, you would want to portray your brand’s image. However, you should not fill your videos with logos and exhortations to buy your product or use your service.

For example, each of the above-mentioned campaigns projected the essence of the brand’s image without actually asking people to buy their products. They were not hard-selling — instead, they were counting on the impact that the video makes to cement their brand’s reputation and personality. For a video that aims to reach as much audience as possible, it should be entertaining first, and subtly promotional after. Videos that made use of successful video marketing campaign secrets did not do so by plastering calls to action around every corner.

  • It should be directed at a specific audience. This means that you need to have a concrete marketing plan behind the video. It does not need to be elaborate, but you need to have a goal, as well as a process you need to take to get to that goal.

For example, you cannot simply post a video for a niche product to an audience that won’t benefit from it. You will not, for instance, post a video about a retirement plan to a community occupied by students. You need to know your target market, and know how to reach it.

It is true that there are lots of viral videos that reached their status through mere luck. If you are a marketing professional, however, you cannot risk such a hit-and-miss tactic. In fact, none of the successful video marketing campaign secrets allow for such a gamble. Unless you can gain traction with your target viewers, you cannot see a wider reach. It’s this initial group of people who will see your video, relate to it, and be entertained enough that they will share it to others. They are the ones who will start your video’s journey to viral stardom.

  • It must be backed by other campaigns. One-off viral videos are nice, but they rarely leave the viewer with enough motivation to do something (aside from sharing the video). In a marketer’s case, you want the video to incite support for your product or service (and the concept it stands for). Because of this, you need to drive brand awareness, which is difficult to do with just one video campaign.

Creating an entertaining and viral video might create awareness about your brand, but it does not necessarily make people trust you enough to buy you. Therefore, you must create some buzz in other realms that will make people think of you as a competitive — and trustworthy — player in your field. When your video comes with brand recognition, then it will be easier for people to share it.

  • Mind the timing. Many viral videos happen because they latch onto an already established trend. For example, Chipotle’s campaign comes along the waves of complaint about the unethical standards in the food industry. Other campaigns can hitch in the back of an event such as a holiday, a prevalent news item, or the like. Timeliness is an important part of a compelling message.

Timing can also be interpreted as “real-time” content, or at least content that simulates in-the-moment stories such as that of GoPro’s. In the age of Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat, and the like, live video broadcasts can gain traction immediately.

Remember — a video is the most potent form of storytelling. If your brand has a story that it wants to tell, then video is your best bet. With the continuous increase in the number of companies tapping this potent medium, there is still room for a creative mind. Don’t be daunted, and don’t get left behind — after all, the video trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Now that you know the successful video marketing campaign secrets, it’s your turn to go viral.