“Let’s do a viral video.”
Anyone creating online video for companies or brands knows that request, and knows that it’s not that easy. Create a jaw-dropping innovative video that gets millions of views and even more tweets? Sure, nothing could be simpler.
Giving some guidelines for those hoping for viral success was Jeremy Stinton, strategy director for online video production and marketing company ST16, speaking at the Streaming Forum 2013 conference in London. Stinton played examples from his company’s video portfolio to show how his team achieved successful results for clients.
One video, for the U.K.’s national health service, followed a suave young vampire as he attempted a night of passion with a lovely lady. The night ended early, though, when he opened his mouth. It wasn’t his fangs that scared his lady off, but his breath and teeth.
The campaign was aimed at 18- to 25-year-old men, urging them to make regular dental appointments. It garnered a lot of online and print attention, said Stinton, and drove a 52 percent increase in dental visits by the target demo.
Those results didn’t happen by chance. Stinton told how his company pushes a video viral, first by researching the audience and knowing what they like, then by testing two or three creative concepts to see which gets the best results.
Paying for views is a good way to start a campaign, Stinton said, as it guarantees a minimum number of views and helps a video gain momentum. ST16 also uses video search engine optimization techniques, such as writing appealing titles and keywords, to make sure the video turns up in search results. Offline public relations efforts help get editors’ attention and lead to positive print stories.
YouTube has a huge built-in audience, so it’s certain to be a part of any viral video marketer’s plans. However, brands need to understand that their content might be aligned with other videos that cast a negative light. Also, other video hosting sites offer features that YouTube lacks. Stinton took a moment to promote Buto.tv, a video host owned by the same company as ST16, which lets companies add clickable hotspots. ST16 used it when running a Christmas video campaign for Tesco’s. Viewer’s watched two nearly identical videos side-by-side, and clicked when they spotted a difference. At the end, they were able to enter their email address to win a prize. The campaign got 80,000 entries in only two weeks.
“It’s really assessing the needs of the campaign and the audience,” Stinton said.
All that doesn’t guarantee viral video success, but it makes strong results more likely. Plan your next campaign with video in mind from the start and use ST16’s tips. With skill and a little luck, you might create some online buzz of your own.