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!

Was it worth the money?

New Years Sydney 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

This year I spend my New Year’s Eve 2012 in Sydney, witnessing the spectacular Sydney Harbour fireworks. It was a truly amazing experience, despite the 12 hours wait for a good spot of the show.

After arriving home yesterday, I had a funny incident with my landlord commenting on the fact that I was so amazed by my experience in Sydney. What she confronted me with was a 6.3 million large figure representing the coast of the fireworks in Sydney, and whether or not I found 12 min of fireworks worth that large amount of money. I gladly answered that it was all worth it, to her surprise. We did not discuss it further. However it made me start wondering.

I knew what I had spent in Sydney for the four days I was there, and just with simple math I quickly realized that the 6.3 million was not such a bad investment. Just with some rough estimates I could easily disprove my landlord’s position.

It had wakened my attention and I had to research the actual figures of the event.  The official figures indicate that the 6.3 million fireworks had put 156 million dollar into the local economy and on average a total cost of 4 dollar per spectator. This means that 1.575,000 people saw the show.  In Australia the corporate income tax is flat 30% which means that the government has earned an estimate of 46.8 million dollar, deducting the 6.3, equal to 40.5 million dollar in tax revenue.  (These estimates due not consider speculations or other forms of avoiding taxes.) However the numbers speak for them self.

Was the 6.3 million dollar fireworks show worth the money? Yes it was all worth it!

The concept of Full House

Boxen Herning Handball

Some might think that by Full House I am referring to the popular 90‘s TV series by the same name. However I am not.

I am referring to the concept of “sold out” for different events; here sport events in particular. When we talk about events we talk about a product of experience an entertainment and in general a product that competes with other cultural and entertaining opportunities such as theater, movies, concerts and might even TV. Therefor is it also a challenge to attract an audience for these events.

Sport events are especially tough, due to fact that a part of the experience is the excitement of the audience, which means that the organizer must present an arena full of people. This is what is needed to meet the expectations of people who have paid a lot of money for a ticket.

So how to fill the arena and deliver the expected experience. For certain sport events it is no problem, because there is a large fan base that shows up for every game and support their team. However other sport events are not that popular and need much more care to sell.

Here comes the concept of free tickets. But why give tickets away for free? Do you make money on giving things away for free? I would claim that you can make even more money, than when charging the audience for the ticket. Tickets are a money making machine and stop charging money for the product you are selling is not the infinitive solution. The problem is when you cannot sell tickets enough to deliver the expected atmosphere, which is required for not disappointing the audience.

So when that happens it is about time to give the tickets away for free. Do not see the concept as giving away the product for nothing, but see it as effective advertising. You should keep in mind that no matter if you hand out fee tickets or not, your expenditures for having the event will be almost the same. However your revenue will increase dramatically. Because when people go see sport events they buy a beer or two, or might even three and of cause they also need something to eat meanwhile, as well as snacks to pleasure the experience. All these goods are bought in the arena and are goods with a large profit margin, which means good revenue.

Let’s try a simple example with imaginary figures: We have an arena with a capacity of 10.000 spectators. Of these 10.000 tickets we have sold 5.000 to a price of 350 DKK. which is equal to 1.750.000 DKK. An average spectator spends around 100 DKK. on snacks and beverages during a game, which is 5000*100 = 500.000 DKK. 1.750.000+500.000 = 2.250.000 in total revenue. Then calculate the extra revenue of filling up the arena. 5000 extra spectators multiplied with 100 DKK. equal to additional half million. In total 2.750.000 DKK.

A bonus to the extra revenue is the advertising effect, which might tempt people to buy a ticket for the next game. Therefore is it also important that people feel special when receiving free ticket and therefore should it not be the same that gets free tickets every time. There are various opportunities to award people free tickets, but it might be clever to give people free tickets in uneven numbers. Imagine receiving three tickets for free and then have to buy the last one, so the whole family can have an experience together. If this is possible it will result in a 25% increase in revenue from tickets.

Another potential source of revenue is to think of the sport arena as marketplace for lotteries, accessories and competitions. In reality it is all about being creative and one nationality that Danish event organizers could learn from is the Americans. One thing is clear; giving away tickets for free is not such a bad idea, because when people first are gathered around an event you have every opportunity to sell additional goods.