Why making a viral video is challenging

This semester, our major requirement in our Communication Trends and Styles class is to make two viral videos. Easy?

Yes, to the ears. But everything is easier than done. Everything is so interesting at first. And so, I admit that our group has been having some difficulties in making a viral video that is at par with the other viral videos circulating the Net.

The first viral video that made its way to YouTube (more):

Our first task was to have a viral video from a topic we had chosen. But this time, for the second time, we were asked to make a video that will help a cause-oriented organization. The mere fact of this makes everything even so complicated.

Viral video: To what extent should it be planned?

In my observation of viral videos in YouTube and Facebook, there is a few ones or perhaps none that an organization has launched. I don’t know but my limited knowledge on videos (since I am not that video freak) tells me this. Most of the viral videos I know seem to be done with its makers not knowing that it will go viral. I say that viral videos ideally should work and spread like a virus- they have multiplied (or in this sense, have been viewed or shared) in large numbers before you know it. Netizens may have several and different tastes on what kind of videos are they going to share or recommend to their friends, and so their behavior could be predicted at the very least. But then, even Psychology can’t accurately predict the likelihood of results of a certain behavior at all. Making strategies on how a viral video should be promoted entails a lot of research and effort for the Internet is a battlefield of information. I think intentionally making all netizens be informed by the video seems to be next to impossible.

Viral video: What should be considered?

Imagine making a 2-minute viral video that is worth  P5 million. It’s make or break; your client wants to make it viral in 10 days and it should have 1 million hits at least. 2 minutes, 5 million, 10 days, 1 million. And of course, count the sleepless nights.

Making a viral video is challenging because there is a lot to consider. Since it characterizes how viruses spread, mechanism of virus spreading should be also considered and there you can find some parallelisms. The following are the factors:

  1. the size of the population of opportunity
  2. the number of days contagious
  3. the number of people with whom an infected person comes in contact
  4. the probability of contracting the virus from contact with an infected person

And its counterparts in marketing:

  1. the target market, or audience, and its size
  2. the best time for launching or promoting,a.k.a right timing
  3. the prospective audience that a target market, audience, or people as opinion leaders will influence
  4. the extent or likelihood of their influence

Viral video: Its chances of being such

Viral videos depend on their audiences. But still, there are some common qualities present to viral videos no matter what kind of audience there is. First, I believe that netizens will view your video if they think, in the first place, it’s worth their time. A video should capture one’s attention and of course, interest. Creativity is definitely the measure here. Second, an excellent viral video should contain a controversial, hot, or timely issue presented in a different light. It should not be conventional or predictable. Stereotypical nor ordinary. It should have the ‘new’ factor although it seeks to address common unresolved social problems. And third, a striking video should possess a challenging statement or message. It should put one’s emotions and reasoning to test; so, it will make itself outstanding from all other available videos.

One of the videos I can vividly remember sharing on Facebook:

But in the end, a viral video should not stay as a viral video. The message it present does not end on the video’s last second, in the Internet, in monitors. It should compel people to feel and think beyond what it presents. They should act. A true value of a viral video comes in two things- lesson and inspiration- viewers get that they will never forget.

Be updated on the top viral videos here.

Know more about viral videos here.


7 responses

  1. Sometimes, I guess we just forget that we’re not dealing with mass media anymore. With the Internet, it’s important to have content (in this case, viral vids) that are so unique and so Wow-able for it to be noticed by people. So yes, for organizations and companies going down this road, they should understand what is interesting for the viewers.

    September 12, 2010 at 5:09 AM

  2. I remember sharing the Einstein video because it had affected and amused me so much, I just have to show it to other people as well. Knowing your target audience isn’t just about putting a label on them like “children”, “teenagers” or “UP students”. We have to know what makes them tick. Once we discover and understand their interests, that’s when we craft a video that would be suitable for them.

    September 18, 2010 at 2:37 AM

  3. sarahforward

    Like the Albert Einstein video. It’s like the professor that says God does not exist cause we don’t see Him and then the student said the professor doesn’t have a brain cause he can’t see it either.

    I noticed that most of the popular viral videos are generally funny. I think that’s because people go online and on YouTube cause they want to escape the stress and daily hassle of real life.

    Next, we owe it big time to Sir Barry for criticizing our videos. Like it or not, the truth hurts but if it’s gonna make us better students and professionals then we only have to be grateful.

    Viral Video: Aim then shoot! Love your post Jods 🙂

    September 21, 2010 at 3:45 PM

  4. Even though we’ve made two viral videos already, I think we’re still far from being viral video experts. What I learned much from the experience is that viral videos are not really top-rating videos, but targeted videos that at least stir the lives of your preferred audience, especially that we create viral videos for organizations, not just about some random stuff.

    By the way, you might want to check the wedding documentation of Tuesday Vargas, since it’s the closest to an organizational viral video I can think of – the message that I got is that Discovery Suites (the location of the wedding, etc) is heavenly for ceremonies like that. 😉

    September 30, 2010 at 7:33 AM

  5. juolpindo

    The population of netizens are so huge that sometimes we think that it is more difficult to target niche audience rather than a mass audience. As we strive to become efficient and effective, I believe that we should focus on researching about our target audience and devising the most effective, efficient, and appropriate tool to reach them.

    October 1, 2010 at 12:13 AM

  6. Making a video is already a challenge. Making a video viral is an even bigger challenge. The internet offers a million other distractions and your video is competing for the attention of netizens who are more often than not, people living a fast-paced life so, it will all definitely depend on how to get their attention and on how the video’s content would make them want to share the video to others. By the way, the Einstein video is one of my favorite videos so far.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:50 AM

  7. Oh, viral video. I shall never forget the…tribulations you’ve given us. 😀
    I agree with you for the most part, save for the ‘social importance’ part. No, it’s not that I disagree with you completely – I think it would be excellent if all viral videos have some sort of social relevance – but it’s that I don’t think it’s a ‘true’ component of a successful viral vid yet. I’ve seen viral vids that have entertainment as its end goal. It’s funny/strange therefore it went viral. But then again no one’s stopping us from making viral vids that actually have a message, right? The challenge is making them known to those who matter.

    October 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

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