Viral Video: Optimizing for Shareability

Several days ago, our friends at Mashable published a thought-provoking infographic titled, “How Videos Go Viral.” The infographic was introduced with a quick story about a video which showed a dog playing with a chew toy that garnered 10,000 Facebook “likes” in just three weeks.

The post brings up an interesting point about the videos that do “go viral,” and that is the concept of optimizing for shareability. According to the infographic, which was created by Brian Sieber, the following factors contribute to a video’s shareability:

Length

Online videos of 15 seconds or less are shared significantly more than videos that are between 30 and 60 seconds, and videos that are longer than 60 seconds. This makes sense, as the nature of the social web is conducive to short, quick updates. Would you read someone’s tweet or Facebook post if it was a page long instead of a few lines?

Platforms

Videos are shared on Facebook 218% more than videos shared through Twitter and email combined. The explanation for this one lies in the structure of the platform itself. Because Facebook allows you to embed a video right into your news feed (vs. email or Twitter, where you would likely post a link to the video), it is the sharing platform that video is most easily viewed on.

Product Category

 

Videos from Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies are viewed and shared more than videos from brands in the electronics, retail, media entertainment, and food and beverage industries. We’re going to blame this one on Isaiah Mustafa.

Demographics

Though the average age of social video consumers for both men are women is approximately 27 years, women share videos 30% more than men. In fact, there have been numerous studies which revealed that, in general, women use social networks more than men do. Many experts have voiced their explanations for this, but we like this one, which states that it’s a combination of the linguistic innovation, social identity, and improvement to a woman’s quality of life found in the adoption of social media. On the other hand, it might be that Isaiah Mustafa again.

Geographics

 

People in the South watch more social video than any other region in the U.S., while Midwesterners share video the most. In addition, people on the East Coast share via email more than any other part of the country. It’s hard to explain why this is so, but it certainly provides useful information for marketers and brands hoping to create a viral video.

So, is the moral of the viral video story to create a 10 second clip of a half-naked man with a southern twang? Not quite. But knowing this information when putting together your video increases the chances that it will be seen and shared. As video continues to be an integral part of social sharing, optimizing for shareability will likely grow to play an even larger role in brands’ social media marketing.

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