By Priya Ramesh
I just got back from Los Angeles last week after meeting with one of our clients, Air New Zealand and I couldn’t help but continue to think about their very successful “Nothing to Hide” video campaign. With video content taking over blogs, Facebook and even traditional employee communications vehicles, it is that much more critical to understand that just creating a video does not guarantee engagement, interaction or search rankings. Air New Zealand’s Nothing to Hide video didn’t go viral without careful planning and placement on the part of the global team both Air New Zealand and CRT/tanaka behind it. This video garnered over 1.2 million views within two weeks of launch followed by placements in the Huffington Post, Fox News and a long list of top tier media publications.
So before I discuss some key ingredients to viral video success let’s look at some industry trends that vouch for increased growth of video content in the coming years. According to the Nielsen third-quarter “Three Screen Report,” online video usage is on the rise, with Internet users watching 53 more minutes of video online in third quarter 2009, a 34.9% increase in viewing time from last year. In addition, the number of people watching mobile video has grown 53% year over year. Videos if rightly done have the tremendous potential to make your viewer want to now share it with the whole wide world making it go viral. Let’s look at some key attributes to what makes a video ripe to be shared by millions of people around the world.
1. Humor and Creativity Drive Virality (I just coined that I think): Speaking to Jules Lloyd, Head of Creative Shop at Air New Zealand last week further emphasized the fact that “thinking way out of the box” is the perfect recipe to viral videos. Jules is the woman behind convincing the Air New Zealand CEO and members of the flight crew to appear body painted in the Nothing to Hide video. I understand not a lot of companies can be edgy and push their limits on creative freedom but at the least THINK DIFFERENT if you truly want to take your video viral.
2. Think Strategic: Yeah there is some careful thinking behind what is that you are trying to convey through your video. Is it just a fun, interactive video with no message? Or do you want to convey something very specific through your video? The Coca Cola Happiness Machine video is a good example of how the beverage manufacturer makes itself appealing to the student community that is known to favor Pepsi more.
3. Market Your Video: Yeah the good old saying of “if you build it they will come” absolutely does not apply to video marketing. There is a lot of outreach activity that happens around a video to ensure the content gets placed on a website, blog or even print publication that enjoys wide readership. It takes a placement in the Huffington Post or the Wall Street Journal to start seeing huge spikes to viewership on your YouTube video. So packaging, pitching and promoting (3Ps) are very integral to jump start a video to take flight online and of course boost search engines rankings.
I want to leave you with the top five viral videos last week shortlisted by Matt Wilstein, founder of Gotcha Media Blog Huffington Post.
Do you have plans to increase video content in your marketing programs moving forward? Let us know your thoughts on video campaigns.
I am speaking more about viral videos at the PRSA Travel and Tourism conference this week, stop by and say hello if you are in Aspen, CO this week for the conference.