It’s one of the most important rules of digital marketing: content can’t thrive online unless it’s shared. Regardless of how excellent and culturally relevant your visual or informational content might be, it’s dead in the water unless it manages to get some traction through social shares.
The good news is that consumers are predisposed to share. Better still – particularly in this age of Vine and Instagram Video – is the knowledge that they’re particularly willing to share content that comes in video form. A new report from video technology company Unruly has found that online video ad sharing grew by 7 percent in the second quarter of this year, with the most gains seen in the entertainment, consumer-packaged goods (CPG), technology, retail, and automotive categories. Videos in the entertainment vertical alone generated more than 11 million shares, while CPG owned two of the 20 most-shared videos to date: Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” and Evian’s “Baby & Me.”
As was reported earlier this year, though, shares alone aren’t quite enough. If content is going to attract a lot of eyeballs, it has to have momentum from the start. Typically, a quarter of all branded online video shares take place within the first three days of campaign launch. The “high point” for video sharing was found to be the second day after a video has gone live.
“Shares are an extremely important metric to track, as this is where brands earn ROI,” says Devra Prywes, VP of marketing and insights with Unruly U.S. “A share…creates the advocacy and e-word-of-mouth that drives 20 to 50 percent of purchase decisions.”
It sounds easy enough: all a brand needs to do is to produce content consumers can’t resist sharing immediately, and that generates purchase-making word-of-mouth. In fact, marketers continue to pursue the elusive prescription for creating a winning viral video. While there’s no goof-proof formula to guaranteeing sharing success, there are several guidelines that will help. Follow these and you’re likely to see your own branded video shares grow.
- Make powerful content. According to Unruly, “viewers love to share video content that moves them.” It isn’t necessarily that you need to make video viewers laugh or cry, but you have to make them feel something that motivates them enough to share what they’ve seen. In Kmart’s recent “Ship My Pants” ad, which too has broken records for online shares, the retailer used wordplay to send its viewers into a state of disbelief that a major brand could get away with such a dubious double entendre. The ad incited a powerful reaction that Internet users wouldn’t soon forget. In this way, it established itself as a must-see clip.
- Revisit popular concepts. When you manage to hit on an idea that viewers respond to, give them more of what they want. Intel and Toshiba had great success with their multi-episode web series, “The Beauty Inside” in 2012, and as such is repeating the social film concept this year. “The Power Inside” will feature Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Keitel as he and others use technology to save the world from moustached aliens.
The premise is unconventional and a little off-kilter, but because that’s consistent with what the two brands have done together in the past it’s what consumers have come to expect of them online. No doubt, “The Power Inside” will appeal to fans of the previous series who will happily introduce it to new viewers.
- Seed your video well. Posting to your branded social channels and submitting to social bookmarking sites is a given. Buying media to expand your reach is a must. But neither is the best way to build initial buzz; for that, you need brand advocates. Identify your most enthusiastic fans on Facebook and Twitter, and give them a sneak preview to share with their network of equally enthusiastic friends. Do the same with bloggers and reporters who have generated positive interest in your product in the past. These are the people who will give your content the push it needs to go mainstream.