Why Viral Videos Are Ruining Your Video Marketing Strategy

Viral videos are every marketer’s dream. We spend hours brainstorming for an epiphany that will skyrocket us to the top of public perception. It’s a fun challenge and a great test of our creative resolve! And it is one of the worst things for your video marketing strategy.

Don’t get me wrong. Having a video go viral and be viewed by millions of people all over the world certainly has its merits. One such merit is how companies have utilized viral videos to launch new products or revamp an old line back into popularity.

Our friends over at Dollar Shave Club used this video in a brilliant way to gain brand recognition. Unfortunately, this positive tends to be way more viable video marketing strategy for e-commerce or B2C brands.

According to many experts, you have a viral video if you reach over 5 million views within a 5-7-day period. You’ve got to have some serious marketing juice – or a lucky rabbit’s foot if you’ve got one of those – to reach that plateau, no matter what business model you have. And even if you do hit that plateau, it doesn’t guarantee you business results! So should attempting to produce viral videos really be how you run your video marketing strategy?

We don’t think so.

Related: 4 Ways Video Marketing Helps Dominate Your Objectives

Samsung bested Apple with their Galaxy SIII video in 2012 with 71.8 million views. All of Apple’s videos combined received 57.8 million, but still sold more units.

Chances are you have either a B2B business, whether that be a consulting agency, selling a SaaS solution, etc. While putting a crazy number of views on the board looks cool, it’s long odds to actually make happen and doesn’t lend itself to a very targeted marketing approach.

So what should you be focusing on? That’s a great question! I’m glad I asked. Let’s find out.

Shock Value Versus Actual Value

The first priority of any content you create should be value. But there are two distinct types of value to offer in video format. To make a video go viral, you need to produce shock value – or at least a strong emotional response. Something in a video makes the viewer say, “I have to show someone this!”

Whether it’s Terry Crews half naked and screaming or a hideous puppy monkey baby, you need an element that shocks, delights, or inspires people into sharing your video.

There is a huge difference between creating shock value and actual value. Shock value wears off. Most of a viral videos views are front loaded, and their impact trails off pretty quickly.

Take 3 seconds and think about a viral video that came out last year. Okay, time is up. Did you even remember one? Maybe you did, but it’s also highly likely that nothing came to mind. And that’s a huge downfall of incorporating viral videos into your video marketing strategy.

Creating something that is genuinely useful may not travel through the office before lunch, but it may just make it to the right person. A video that can transform 5,000 people’s lives for years is almost always worth more than a video that exposes you to 5,000,000 people who forget you by the end of the week.

Creating a video that answers a question, explains a product, or delivers quality in an entertaining way will get shared and viewed by the right people.

Anybody Versus Somebody

Perhaps you still want to play the odds and purchase your ticket for the viral video lottery. But if you want to create something that is worth your viewer’s time – instead of just plain entertainment – you’ll need to have a specific audience in mind.

Focusing on going viral means not caring who is watching. When you’re prospecting, you don’t just open up a phone book – okay, so nobody uses phone books but you get the point – and start calling, right? Targeting everybody is the same as targeting nobody.

Related: 3 Ways to Make a Video Your Customers Will Actually Care About

Most likely, your business has target customers or buyer personas. The videos you create don’t have to be so targeted that it only speaks to your core audience, but you should have a good idea of who you’re trying to reach. If it goes beyond that target, BONUS!

This video by Dove wasn’t targeted only toward women who are skin conscious, but it was overwhelmingly meant for women. It’s compelling and well done and will be watched to the end by anyone. No matter who you are, you thought about buying some moisturizer without so much as a drop of Aloe Vera shown onscreen.

Education Versus Entertainment

Okay, so we’ve been pretty critical of viral videos. But let’s talk about something they do really, really well. While most viral videos have very little information, most have you laughing, crying, or gasping from the beginning to the end. Contrast this with the majority of corporate videos which are. Just. So. Boring.

No matter what you’re trying to get across, your video marketing strategy would be better with a little bit of fun.

Imagine a sliding scale of entertainment and education. Figuring out how much weight to put on one versus the other is going to depend on multiple factors including what you are trying to accomplish.

Related: Why you’re not educating your audience right, and 4 ways to start

Is your video a brand promotion, product advertisement, explainer video, etc.? A video to promote your overall brand can stand to be less informative – like our Dove case study above – while a product ad will need more specific info.

More and more businesses are looking to incorporate video into their marketing. Getting a large (read: viral) number of view takes entertaining and zany stunts, but progressing your brand’s goals takes educating a targeted audience. How do you balance the two?

One of the best ways to package information and entertainment together is through story.

We’re pretty big on brand stories here at Explainify. If you need to convey information to an audience, you have a choice. You can talk and talk and talk, or tell a story. We specialize in conveying vital information in a way that is also entertaining to your audience.

Get in touch to see if we can help!


7 Explainer Videos for Science

7 Explainer Videos for Science

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