What makes a YouTube video go Viral?

Youtube Viral Video

We should all be familiar with the concept of Viral Marketing, but what is it that really makes a video go viral?

There is no unique formula for what is needed for your content to go viral online, but there are tons of theories about it. I have chosen to present YouTube Trend Manager Kevin Allocca’s findings on what it takes for a YouTube video to go viral.

Kevin is listing 3 main characteristics that a YouTube video requires to become an online phenomenon.

1.       Tastemakers

For a YouTube video to go viral tastemakers or opinion leaders are a key element. What Kevins research shows is that the boom in traffic to YouTube videos comes just as opinion leaders, usually with a large following base, starts to share the content. This attracts the follower’s attention and the reach of people is suddenly unbelievable.

2.       Community Participation

Kevin highlights another key element: Participation of the community. A successful viral video has a tendency of allowing for interaction and participation. The video might inspire people to replicate it or build on top of it, and again the reach of people is suddenly unbelievable.

3.       Unexpectedness

Last and final element is the absolute uniqueness or unexpectedness of the video. Only videos that present something new, or present something better than previous videos, will experience the audience’s willingness to share and interact. Unexpected presentations of usually uninteresting material is usually the key to a successful viral YouTube video.

Here is an example of a viral video with more than 42 million views on YouTube. The video is of a guy named Matt that is dancing, and he is not in particular good at it. Why should you want to see it? Because it got some unexpected; it involves the community and inspires, and it has probably at some point been shared by tastemakers for it to reach its massive audience.

If you want to see Kevin Allocca’s  full keynote from Ted Talks on the matter of Viral YouTube video. Watch the clip here. In the end it is the audience that defines the popularity!

Ask the What if Question?

Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre

Innovation starts when people ask the What if Question? Today I attend a great lecture in connection with the 10 year anniversary for the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre. The lecturer was Steve Huff, form managing director of Typefi, an automated publishing too used by companies such as Apple, Lonely Planet and Telstra.

Steve Huff was sharing his entrepreneurial experience, which he did really well. In 1999, just after the IT bobble busted, he founded Typefi, after asking the question; What if we could automate book publishing and save the publishers money by shortening the editing process from several days to today’s just 3 minutes. The entire lecture was framed by this question of: What if? Because as Steve said, that is the main question entrepreneurs ask themselves.

Steve shared a great story of an episode with an online conference call with Apple in Cupertino, where they experienced constant fall outs. The Apple employees became pretty frustrated about the situation and Steve Huff and his team had to admit that they did not have broadband.

Even though Steve’s story was pretty amazing, he underlined that being an entrepreneur is a hard job and he also had a few stories to about sleepless nights, extreme frustration and fear. But as he stated, if you are passionate about what you do, you don’t want to take a break from it.

Today Steve has asked himself the question: What if we could supply refugee camps in Africa with lightning and by that minimize the risk of assault and rape of women and children? With this question has Steve set out to create jobs in a whole new industry of lightning under the name of Doble.

The anniversary also gave the opportunity to say hello to Gideon Shalwick, an online video marketing entrepreneur specialized in turning online videos into cash. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a guest lecture held by Gideon just a week earlier on Campus. It was a great lecture, and I was happy to be presented with the opportunity to have a little chat about Gideon’s book publishing history.

All over a regular Thursday turned into an extraordinary Thursday. Now I am about to ask myself the What if Question? And so should you?

What is a Flash Mob?

Flash Mob T-mobile Heatrow Terminal 5

Have you ever heard of the term Flash Mob? The Concept is pretty cool and can easily be explained. Read hear Wikipedia’s English definition:A flash mob (or flashmob) is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then disperse.”

In other words; a flash mob is a social gathering in an unusual place. This is one of my favorite flash mob’s because of it professionalism, but there is a lot of viral flash mob’s to find on youtube.

What you see in the video above is a part of advertising campaign for the German telecommunication provider T-mobile in Britain. The video is recorded in Heathrow Airport, London, and is a product of 300 people’s hard work. T-mobile have done several of these flash mob’s around Britain, and have had great success to attract the attention of the media as well as the public.

What is interesting about flash mob’s in general is the massive attention it gets in the public atmosphere, and how it engage and gives an experience to people who accidently is in the spot where the flash mob takes place.

I keep referring to the viral effect of these events, but the viral effect is not just online in video form. It also exists in mouth to mouth verbal form, where people tell their friends and family about for instance: what an amazing welcome they had in Heathrow Terminal 5 by T-mobile. People blog about the experience and share armature video and pictures from the happening. All this creates the difference from a regular viral video, which does not catch the surprised faces of the public. When doing professional flash mob’s the epicenter is way larger than regular viral videos and the message of the event (flash mob) is so much stronger and will reach even further.

When we talk about modern business and marketing, the competition is so intense and we have to think different. That is what T-mobile is doing and they are really good at it.

At last I would like to share and example of another flash mob that surprised travelers at Grant Central Station, New York. Notice that more than 24 million have watched the video.