Marketing campaigns can harness promotional videos and become truly viral. To get at least 100,000 people to watch a company’s “viral” video, keep the following in mind.
Not all viral videos are what they seem
There are tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube each day. A company needs to get at least 100,000 views to be considered successful; hopefully reaching 1.5 million views. In short, not all videos go viral organically – professional PR help might be needed.
Content is King (sort of)
If a company wants a truly viral video that will get millions of people to watch and share it, then content is king. But good content is not the only condition to get 100,000 views. A video must have a decent concept, an should not be forced to fit a brand. Rather, a brand should be fit into a great concept. Here are some guidelines:
- Make it short: 15-30 seconds is ideal; break down long stories into bite-sized clips.
- Don’t make an outright ad: if a video feels like an ad, viewers won’t share it unless it’s really amazing, such as Smirnoff’s Tea Partay.
- Make it inviting: make sure to give a viewer a call to action, such as the Geico commercials.
Core Strategy: Getting onto the “Most Viewed” page
The core concept of video marketing on YouTube is to harness the power of the site’s traffic. The goal is to get a video on that Videos page, which lists the Daily Most Viewed videos. When being one of the twenty videos on the Most Viewed page, it means that it grabs 1/20th of the clicks on that page. The higher up on the page the video is, the more views it will get.
To ensure the first 50,000 views onto the Most Viewed list:
- Blogs: reaching out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually entice them to post the embedded video or the relating URL.
- Forums: embed the link to the video in a post as part of a relevant threat. Although a bit tedious and time-consuming, it can have a tremendous effect when done properly.
- MySpace: Plenty of users allow people to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages.
- Facebook: Sharing a video with friends lists can have a real impact. Another option is to create an event that announces the video launch and invite friends, writing notes and tagging friends, or posting the video on Facebook Video with a link back to the original YouTube video.
- Email lists: sending the video to email lists, including employees. Announce the launch of the video and tell recipients that they can forward the link. This can be a very effective strategy, leveraging the viral effect.
Each video has a shelf life of 48 hours before it’s moved from the Daily Most Viewed list to the Weekly Most Viewed list, so it’s important that this happens quickly. Once a video is on the Most Viewed page, the number of views must be maximized. People see hundreds of videos on YouTube, and the title and thumbnail are an easy way for video publishers to actively persuade someone to click on a video.
Titles can be changed a limitless number of times. For starters, the title can include phrases such as “exclusive” or “behind the scenes,” or “funny video.” Later on, the title can change to something more relevant to the brand.
If a video is sitting on the Most Viewed page with nineteen other videos, a compelling video thumbnail is the single best strategy to maximize the number of clicks the video gets. YouTube provides three choices for a video’s thumbnail, one of which is grabbed from the exact middle of the video. The frame at the very middle must therefore be interesting. The thumbnail should be high res and ideally it should have a face or at least a person/animal in it.
YouTube allows for tagging videos with keywords that make the videos show up in relevant searches. Tags can also be used to control the videos that show up in the Related Videos box. Ideally, the tags are unique, and are not used by any other YouTube videos. Done correctly, this will for full control over the videos that show up as "Related Videos".
Once views start trailing off after a few days to a week, it’s time to add some more generic tags, tags that draw out the long tail of a video as it starts to appear in search results on YouTube and Google.
Metrics/Tracking: measuring effectiveness
Tweak the links on YouTube (whether in a YouTube channel or in a video description) by adding “?video=1” to the end of each URL. This makes it much easier to track inbound links using Google Analytics or another metrics tool. TubeMogul and VidMetrix also track views/comments/ratings on each individual video and generate graphs for review. These tools also follow the viral spread of a video outside of YouTube and throughout other social media sites and blogs.