Creating a piece of viral content is now like winning the lottery for publishers.
So much so, that in a recent piece of research conducted by Wochit, of 4,000 videos from 100 publishers around the globe, we found that only 1.2% of social video on Facebook go viral in three months. These videos, in order to be considered viral, had to achieve over 1 million views. What is probably especially shocking to many is that this year, video already accounts for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.
Before publishers begin to wring their hands, however, the research also found that “popular social videos”, defined as between 100,000 to 1 million views amounted to 16% of video content within this three-month period too.
What this all serves to highlight is how incredibly tough virality truly is. Thinking back to ten years ago, only skilled professionals or someone with deep training could create a piece of video content. Thanks to technology, video creation has been, in effect, democratised, which ultimately means competition is fiercer than it has ever been, which again, makes virality all the rarer.
All is not lost for publishers though who are grappling with the demands to create viral content. A key first step is understanding what audiences actually want. For example, Wochit found people love short, sharp videos that aren’t too difficult to access within their feed. We also saw that videos running 60 to 90 seconds got the most views while those running 30 to 60 seconds received the most shares. Surprisingly, people are sharing news content twice as often as entertainment.
With such insights, you are then ready to attack the issue of virality head-on with the video content you plan on creating. If you are able to address these ten issues within your social video, you are, at the very least, maximising your chances for your social video to go viral.
1. Embrace trending topics
Social media is about conversations. Put trending topics to work by creating content that feeds into them.
2. Know your channels
A ‘one size fits all’ approach to social video doesn’t work. Video content for Facebook does not instantly or automatically translate to Twitter, or vice versa. Understanding your channels and relevant audiences is essential.
3. Remember call-to-actions
Racking up followers on social media is not a social video strategy. Closing a video with a call-to-action (CTA) prompts viewers to take the next step you want from them, whether that’s heading to your homepage or sharing the video.
4. Post with style
There are more ways than one to brand your video content. It doesn’t have to be only with a logo or opening/closing splashes. Think about the tone you want to set and how this matches your brand and audience.
5. Use listicles
A video listicle is a great, 'snackable' piece of content. The format is so ubiquitous and popular that viewers know what they are getting instantly. Experiment to find new formats that work for your audiences too.
6. Grab their attention
Start with your best active shot and set to auto-play if that’s an option. Videos with a stationary beginning are less likely to be clicked.
7. It’s cool to be a square
As highlighted in Wochit’s research, people are making the move to square. Square videos play well on displays of any size and tend to pop in cluttered social feeds.
8. Keep pace
Use music, dynamic editing and space out text so that your content is neither too overwhelming or too boring. This will keep people engaged throughout your video.
9. Be emotional
Research has found that some of the best performing videos on Facebook pulled at viewers’ heartstrings. Users are more likely to engage with content that speaks to them on an emotional level, meaning more shares, likes, and comments.
10. Look on the bright side
Positive content helps drive higher engagement. Videos that make viewers feel a little better – about the world or themselves – are actually much more likely to be shared, commented upon, and otherwise engaged with.
Undoubtedly, video virality is what every publisher is now aspiring to. The opportunity on offer, if you get it right, can’t be ignored, as a viral video can account for up to 60% of all shares for a publisher over a 90 day period of time.
While the task to create such content may now seem too daunting, by following some specific approaches to social video, which are well within publishers’ control, it can be done and you could become part of the 1%.