How to Create Viral Videos: Best Practices, Tools, and Examples

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The following is a guest post by Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

The age of video marketing is here. Brands are using videos to educate, inform, and influence consumers. And, consumers are loving marketing statistics: people buy a product after watching a branded video

Need evidence?

Then, check out these stats and facts about video watching on social media:

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  • 80% of people bought a product after watching a branded video about it.
  • Consumers watched 5x more shopping-related videos in 2020 as compared to 2018.
  • 66% of people prefer watching a product video to reading about a product.

video marketing statistics: people prefer watching a video over reading about a productSince videos are such hot property, most marketers have jumped on the video marketing bandwagon, tightening the competition. As a result, compared to a few years ago, it’s not as easy to get your videos noticed. Unless you understand consumers’ psyches and content consumption patterns, the videos you painstakingly produce can be lost in the crowd.

The solution?

Learn from the experts and follow video creation best practices. And the best part is that you don’t have to hunt for these insights and information on the web. I’ve covered both in this post.

Let’s start with the best viral video ads of 2020 and learn what made them stand out from the crowd.

After we decipher the anatomy of successful videos, we will delve into video-creation hacks in the latter part of this post. Armed with all of this intelligence, you can go about creating mind-blowing videos to beat the competition.

Let’s get started.

5 Viral Video Ads and What You Can Learn from Them

With tons of video content being uploaded daily on social media, it’s hard to make yourself heard (or rather) seen. Yet, there have been many advertising gems that were able to cut through the noise and rule the web for days.

Here are my top picks, plus my analysis of why these video ads worked:

Blendtech: Shock Viewers with Unbelievable Visuals

Let’s start our best viral video ads roundup on a fun note!

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Can you imagine churning your iPhone into pulp in a blender? Neither can I. But Blendtech’s eccentric ad mascot, played by Tom Dickinson, did just that in the Will It Blend? video ad series by the brand.

Video via YouTube 

He throws iPads, iPhones, and all sorts of hideously expensive items in the Blendtech blender and dismantles their nuts and bolts. If the visuals aren’t shocking enough, the dry wit of Dickinson will surely make you sit up and notice the ad.

Your Takeaway: Use shock value and humor to make your video ads memorable. But tread the line between shock and controversy carefully. You don’t want to hurt sensibilities and be rebuffed for cracking jokes on sensitive topics.

Casino’s Law: Feed on Movie-Love

Injury attorney, Jamie Casino’s, two-minute commercial was first aired during the 2014 Super Bowl. In true Hollywood style, the ad opens with an intriguing quote from the Bible, with the protagonist (Jamie Casino) building a case for why he defends the voiceless.

Video via Youtube

Everything about the commercial works – the heavy metal music in the background, the film-like plot, and the stunning finish. You might hate it, or love it, but one thing is for sure – you just can’t ignore it.

Your Takeaway: Stay away from done-and-dusted formulas when it comes to video ads. Don’t be afraid of going dark and dangerous, as long as the message you’re conveying is worthy. Also, pay attention to minute creative details. Ensure that all of your ad elements (story, characters, music, colors, etc.) play well together.

Alibaba: Go Inspirational

An ice hockey team from the land of deserts, Kenya, sounds unbelievable, right? A land that has never seen, much less played with, snow produces an Olympic-level ice hockey team. And it all starts with a little Kenyan boy’s dream of making it to the big leagues. Big dreams start small was the message Alibaba spread through their viral Olympic ad.

Video via Youtube

The eCommerce giant struck all the right notes with the audience. The aspirational little boy, the rustic setting, the compelling storyline, and the powerful message at the end – everything blends neatly to produce a video that stays with you long after you hit the stop button.

Your Takeaway: Positivity is a fail-safe formula for video ads. Everybody loves brands that spread positive vibes and make us feel hopeful for a better tomorrow.

In fact, cause marketing is really big these days. 53% of consumers want brands to stand up for relevant causes. If this is the tactic you’re planning to implement in your video advertising campaigns, ensure that you walk the talk.

What does that mean?

It means that you need to be consistent in your online and offline activities to foster consumer trust. Modern consumers are discerning; they don’t take kindly to “trust washing.”

Google Android: Piggyback on Emotions

Cute animals frolicking about, sharing food, clapping, and dancing – how can any sane person resist them? Google Android’s “Friends Furever” ad campaign is bound to make you go “Awww” every second.

Video via Youtube

The soothing soundtrack and cute, furry animals are a sight for sore eyes. The brand’s name or logo doesn’t appear till the very end, ensuring a disruption-free experience for viewers.

Your Takeaway: Tap into human emotions, lots of them. Spreading good vibes never fails to grab attention, even on cluttered social media platforms. Google Android’s low-budget video proves that you need not splurge on setting up elaborate sets and hiring professional models to make the right impression.

Dollar Shave Club: No-Nonsense Messaging

Dollar Shave Club’s brand launch ad is a prime example of how you can create a memorable ad on a shoestring budget.

But how?

With humor, of course.

DSC spent only $4500 on producing the ad, which was a runaway hit from the moment it surfaced.

Video via Youtube

In the ad, DSC’s CEO explains why the brand’s razors are a great product. But he doesn’t say that in so many words. Rather, he uses tongue-in-cheek humor to get his point across. The audience loved his no-nonsense approach and offhand delivery style so much that the brand raked in 12K+ new orders within 48 hours of the ad launch.

Your Takeaway: Everybody loves a good laugh. Tickle the funny bone if you want your ads to appeal to the masses.

PooPourri: Capture a Pain Point

Girls don’t poop – or so they would like the world to believe! PooPourri’s before-poop spray helps mask those embarrassing after-poop odors. No doubt, the product is useful (especially for females), but its presentation is even more engaging.

Video via Youtube

PooPourri demonstrates that they have a finger on their audience’s veins by tapping into their pain point. Not only that, they showed how useless the other alternatives were for deodorizing toilets.

Your Takeaway: Analyze your audience’s needs and interests thoroughly. Use your audience insights not only for product ideation but also for ad conceptualization.

One more thing…

Audience research is not a one-time deal. Your audience’s challenges evolve as new products and scenarios crop up. So, keep digging into their mindsets to come up with on-point ad campaigns.

7 Proven Tips for Creating Viral Videos

While it’s good to look for inspiration, it’s more important to set your own benchmarks while creating video ads for your brand. Don’t lose your brand identity in pursuit of more views. Blindly copying the success formulas of the above viral videos can be detrimental to your brand image.

To help you get started on your own, here are some tips for creating video ads you can follow:

1. Keep Your Videos Short

Social media users have short attention spans. If your video ads are too long, their retention rate will be low.

Not convinced?video marketing statistics: people will watch video if they are short

Vidyard’s research shows that 68% of people will watch video ads all the way through if they are under 1 minute.

So, you need to pack a punch in 1-2 minutes if you want your target audience to catch your full message.

2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

There is no use in replicating already successful videos since audience fatigue levels on social media are abnormally high.

Then, how can you risk-proof your content strategy?

The answer is competitor research. You don’t have to bother with what the rest of the world is doing. Just analyze your competitors’ strategies and find the gaps therein. Then, find the sweet spot between market demand, existing content, and your own strategy.

3. Try a Controversial Angle

As explained before, controversy and shock value work well on social media. And, when combined with a social message, the impact can be phenomenal.

Need more inspiration?

The British Army’s recruitment ad drive invited millennials to enlist in a rather unconventional way. They called millennials all sorts of derogatory names – phone zombies, binge gamers, and snowflakes – but the effect was extraordinary. The ad went viral and the army received a record number of applications.

Image via NBC News

4. Hook Audiences from the Start

Always have a hook to stop people from scrolling past or ignoring your videos. The hook can be anything that evokes an emotional response. Earlier this year, an ad with a father dragging his daughter through the airport while she threw a tantrum went viral.

The reason?

What differentiates viral videos from regular ones? How can you create a viral video without blowing up your marketing budget? Find all of these answers here. #viralvideos #viralcontent #video #videocontent #contentcreation Relatability.

Most parents, at some point or the other, have experienced a similar situation with their kids. That’s bound to pique their curiosity and watch the ad till the end.

5. Go Big on Topical Ideas

Timing is everything when it comes to creating viral videos. You need to strike the iron when it’s hot and not worry too much about quality. Just get the video to market before you miss the train.

Is there an event that your target audience is excited about? Can you take advantage of an ongoing trend in your industry? To stay on top of trends, you can use social listening tools like BuzzSumo and Mention. Just make sure the trend you’re tapping into is relevant to your brand and audience.

6. Mobile-Optimize Your Videos

According to the previously-cited Wyzowl report, 90% of people watch videos on mobile devices. YouTube and Twitter both report the highest video consumption happens over mobile devices.

If you want your videos to be shared widely, you need to reach mobile-friendly audiences. Test your videos on different devices and ensure the navigation is thumb-friendly.

Anything else? marketing statistics: people prefer watching videos with sound off

92% of people prefer to watch videos with sound off. So, include captions in your videos since 50% of video watchers rely on them to understand video context.

7. Promote Across Channels

The virality of videos depends on organic shares, but you can give your videos a good head start by promoting them aggressively on relevant channels.

Apart from YouTube, take advantage of Facebook’s native video marketing tools. The platform’s broad user base and penetration can give your videos a push. If you are big on video clips, Instagram Stories should be one of your destinations. Don’t forget to cross-promote on your website and newsletters as well.

Want a bonus tip?

Be consistent in your efforts. I know it’s not easy producing groundbreaking viral videos at scale, but it pays to maintain visibility on social media. Social media users have short attention spans and even shorter memories.

If you post videos sporadically, you can’t hope to attain the top-of-mind advantage, much less go viral. Maintaining consistency in Instagram posting is the number one challenge for 43% of visual marketers. But social media marketing returns come in the long haul. You’re either all in or all out. Plan wisely.

Image via Venngage

Over to You

Creating viral videos is easier said than done. Even if you follow all of the best practices I’ve prescribed above, you can’t get assured returns unless you remember some things.

Like what?

Understand your customers’ sentiments, get a grip on trends, and analyze what works for your industry. Combine all of that intel and you have a sure-shot formula for creating viral videos.

Do you have any questions about any of the tips about viral videos mentioned above? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to answer them.

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What differentiates viral videos from regular ones? How can you create a viral video without blowing up your marketing budget? Find all of these answers here. #video #contentcreation #viralvideo #viralvideos #videocontent

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