Digital Marketing – What Makes a Video Go Viral?

Video is a powerful marketing tool and when a video goes “viral,” there’s no limit to the buzz and business it can generate. Surprisingly, many brands mistakenly believe that simply posting a video online will make it an instant viral sensation. To clarify this misconception, Ogilvy’s Robert John Davis and Jeremy Sanchez offered a four-step strategy during the recent South by Southwest festival for creating videos that will capture attention. detailed their viral video tips.

1. Prepare a Plan – While it would be nice to believe that achieving a viral following happens by chance or by luck, it usually requires careful research into the trends and topics of the day to understand what’s mostly likely to capture viewers’ attention. To improve your odds of going viral, target your video concept to a specific audience, since it’s virtually possible to find an idea that appeals to everyone. Still, the most important part of crafting a video is actually the interaction afterward. Most viewers don’t watch the entire video, so place your call-to-action at the beginning rather than at the end, and make sure that the video is optimized for viewing on every device, from desktop to mobile.

2. Deliver Style with Substance – Creating a crazy and creative video doesn’t guarantee viral success and often sacrifices the real meaning of your message. Try to craft video content that balances relevance with quirkiness to ensure that your efforts get attention for your brand instead of just getting a laugh. To find this perfect balance, use your top SEO keywords to develop the video concept. Once you’ve come up the “big idea,” remember to name your channel after your brand rather than your campaign to make sure that your company gets all the attention.

3. Promote and Distribute – Turning a video into a Web-wide phenomenon takes a proactive approach. Three types of media can accelerate the promotion process: paid, owned, and earned. Paid media is the primary one for marketers since most videos require some level of paid promotion to reach the target audience. Owned media is often the simplest route because it’s based on featuring the video on channels within the company, such as websites, social media pages, and email marketing materials. Earned media involves sharing, embedding on YouTube and blogging, which results from savvy tagging and content. All three of these media are usually needed to ensure proper reach.

4. Measure Success by Business, Not Buzz – No matter how many shares and comments the video gets, the most valuable metrics are the ones that show measurable improvements for your company. Focus on business metrics, such as the amount of leads generated and number of sales. This data takes time to track and measure, but this is what really matters to clients and your company down the line.

A video should be used to communicate a brand’s message in a creative and compelling way. By applying the four simple steps above, marketers can greatly improve their chances of going viral and getting noticed.

At MDG, our 360° marketing approach uses just the right mix of traditional and online media for your brand. While some industries may fare better on TV and others online, we strive to create a balanced approach to media planning where digital and traditional marketing efforts support each other and your message is tailored to the medium. If you’re interested in implementing a digital media strategy that will expose your brand to a new demographic and increase sales, contact MDG today at 561-338-7797 or visit