The Art of Viral Videos

Back in 2005 Seth godin put together a nifty post that explained what makes an idea viral. For an idea to spread, he said, it needs to be sent and received.

No one “sends” an idea unless:

a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one “gets” an idea unless:

a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

My summary of his points:

1) Ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.
2) A key dynamic in the spread of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If it’s easy to swallow, tempting and complete, it’s a lot more likely to get a good start.
3) A key element in the spread of ideas is their visual element. iPods and visual styles spread faster in the real world than ephemeral concepts. Pictures and short jokes spread faster online because the investment necessary to figure out if they’re worth spreading is so tiny.
4) Panic, for instance, is a superbad idea at all times, but it spreads faster than most. That’s because spreading an idea is rarely a thoughtful, voluntary act. Instead, it is near the core of who we are, and we often do it without thinking much about the implications.

The thing is, producers are realising now that it isn’t just the video or message that needs to be well engineered, the seeding of it across cyberspace is also important. Just as a TV commercial does not have the same ‘reach’ anymore, it is not sufficient to just post a video to one website. And so now enters companies that specialise in ‘seeding’ the web, in ‘seeding’ communities. Feedcompany does just that:

You might be an agency or entertainment company that’s great at making ’em, but getting web videos ranked, forwarded, and featured is an art in itself.

Ah, I love these guys. An “art in itself” eh? I call it the ‘choreography of rollout’. They have a whitepaper on their site that explains ‘Best Practices for Advertisers who want to get TV Commercials and Videos on YouTube, MySpace, and other top video sharing sites’. The president of the company Josh Warner was also interviewed recently about the techniques involved. They say that they ‘feed the monster’…

Check out:

One Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.