In November we spoke generally about why content goes viral and while these points also apply to branded content, it is a slightly different beast. Your standard internet viral tends to feature dogs, cats, a daft prank or a cute kid yodelling in a supermarket and not a brand promoting themselves. But many brand videos can and do rack up tens of millions of views, so how are they doing it? Well, let’s lift the lid on how branded content goes viral:
A seeding campaign
Seeding works to get the viral cogs in motion. A seeding company, like ourselves, works with a network of high profile websites and blogs and encourages them to embed and share the brand’s video, generating more views and increasing discoverability of the content. You can read more about the seeding process on our What is Content Seeding post.
Have an established, engaged and sizeable community
Take a company like Red Bull, across their central Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter pages they have a combined following of over 65 million. That’s a pretty big established and engaged community! With a community of this size, and with the incredible volume of content Red Bull produces, they do have a greater chance of having their content go viral because they have the fanbase to do the spreading for them. But it doesn’t come cheap. Red Bull have an in-house media production team, pay big sums to sponsor extreme sports athletes and high-profile events (let’s not forget about Red Bull Stratos, which reportedly cost them over £25 million), and would have spent a lot of money and time building up their online communities.
Brands will work with companies, like ourselves, to set up paid for promotion of their social media channels and the content that they’re sharing; adding views to their YouTube videos, likes to their Instagram and comments on their Facebook posts. Again, this can work as a great way to kickstart a campaign, getting the content some exposure among the brand’s target audience and, if the content is strong enough, begin its ascent to viral-dom.
Last year we spoke about Dove’s latest marketing whoopsy and pointed out that the level of exposure Dove gained from the short clip was the equivalent of at least £100m in advertising. While it isn’t a tactic we’d recommend, creating a campaign that sparks controversary, and possibly outrage, might help you achieve viral success…. but for all the wrong reasons. No brand wants to appear as if they don’t understand the people they’re trying to sell to.
Sometimes a brand led video is just so good that you want to share and talk about it. Think of all the John Lewis Christmas ads and the hype that builds around them every year. Think of the 2010 Old Spice ad or Three’s Dancing Pony, ads we quoted at the pub and spoke to our mums about, because they were just so good. Create a feel good and unique ad, and viral success could be yours.
If your aim is to grow your audience and acquire new customers, then consider a seeding campaign for your video content. You don’t need to spend millions of pounds to achieve great results and we have ten years of experience working across a wide variety of sectors. Want to find out more? Get in touch.