YouTube users view more than 4 billion hours of video every month. Video content drives communities, commerce and increasingly, CMO agendas. But can brands and their agencies, who have been making TV ads for over 60 years succeed in creating engaging, shareable online content that delivers any kind of marketing value without looking like a regurgitated commercial?
Working with the leaders in the field, we have devised six simple rules to creating, predicting and amplifying video content that will finally reconnect your consumers’ appetite for video content with your marketing ambitions.
1. Don’t plan for a 'viral' campaign
According to David Waterhouse, global head of content at video technology company Unruly, “trying to chase the next viral hit is the strategic equivalent of sticking your hand in a haystack and hoping to find a needle”. Instead, marketers should focus on creating and distributing highly shareable content, repeatedly.
2. Do it with consumers
Consumers are already populating YouTube with a staggering 100 hours of video every minute. Consider getting them to produce your content, but don't expect all of them to be creative geniuses. Alexandre Olmedo, co-founder of eYeka, recommends working with the 1 per cent of content creators whenever fresh ideas and quality of creative execution matters. Schick Quattro recently asked eYeka’s community to produce short videos illustrating the benefit of titanium in daily life. When these videos ran alongside sponsored video-content from one of the most popular Anime franchises on Google TrueView in Japan, they achieved the highest View-Through-Rate (21per cent versus 17.1 per cent for sponsored videos). Crowdsourcing is not about cost-efficiency but about creating content that truly resonates with the target audience.
3. Aim for a strong emotional reaction
As a general rule, your content should be arresting enough to elicit a strong physical reaction from the viewer. Unruly’s ShareRank, a predictive tool for shareability found that a target audience’s emotional response to a video and the social motivations to share it are the highest predictors of success. Online videos which elicit powerful, positive emotions are shared 30 per cent more often than others. And they are remembered three times more. A crowdsourcing project calling on the eYeka community to "illustrate Coca-Cola as an energizing refreshment, in their own style" generated worldwide buzz with over 6 million online mentions, and several high energy videos scoring in the top 10 per cent of all-time best ads in sample markets. Get out of your brand’s comfort zone to produce content that consumers will actually want to watch and share.
4. Seed! Don't wait for people to discover it
There is no secret sauce to “virality”. Without good distribution, even good content will struggle to make a mark. Social video seeding uses paid distribution to ensure that content is visible and easily shareable on native content environments, where people are already discovering, watching and sharing video content. This means the right content can find its target audience where viewers are more engaged. You can boost viewership with the support of an overall media campaign to get maximum awareness.
5. Create a consistent and shareable experience
According to Kitt McCurdy, Director at Thismoment, creating a highly interactive experience around your content immerses consumers even more into your brand. Ensure your experience is optimized for audiences across all social channels and devices to further increase reach and time spent. Making it easy for users to share your content, being part of the conversation and submitting their own content should be a key part of the overall strategy. When your video goes beyond your control and starts to get mashed-up, it is a sign that your one-hit-wonder is turning into something more: an Internet meme!
6. Get your timing right
At the conception stage, capturing the mood of a nation, a generation or a target audience will provide a solid foundation for viral activation. At the amplification stage, you will need to be in the right places at the right time. You will need lots of views to happen fast after upload if you want to make most viewed of the day or week on YouTube or other distribution platforms. Likewise, you'll need people to blog, tweet, and digg your video within a short space of time. That is because, according to Unruly “a quarter of the average online branded video shares occur in the first three days of its launch. While the occurs on the second day, when your video will attract one in 10 of its total shares across the social web.” Don’t let long production and bureaucratic approval processes get in the way of the zeitgeist!
Joël Céré is global director, insights and innovation, eYeka