What is viral content?
If you recognised these rows of green, grey, and yellow squares, you were likely on your phone a lot in the first half of 2022. This image is from Wordle, a word game that went viral worldwide sometime around January 2022.
Going viral is not a new phenomenon. Headlines such as ‘Viral Dress Sold Out’ and ‘Viral Video Fact Check’ are incredibly common on all news outlets. If you had to think of one meme that everyone knows and loves, we are sure that you can name your favourite picks. But, what is my ‘going viral’?
Viral content is material, like images, products, articles, videos, and more, gaining rapid popularity through social media and word-of-mouth. There isn’t a fixed benchmark of the number of views, likes, and shares something must receive to officially ‘go viral,’ but it is roughly in the millions!
What is viral marketing?
Viral marketing is a content strategy wherein customers are encouraged to share content online to turn it into a trend. This type of marketing capitalises on the qualities of viral content and tries to replicate the effect, to boost organic growth and potential sales. In this strategy, a brand encourages people to become its inadvertent marketers by sharing the brand’s content on their own social media. Viral marketing involves:
● Inducing a reaction
Viral content usually causes a strong reaction in the audience. This can be emotions like enjoyment, hunger, nostalgia, or thrill.
● Encouraging an action
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It was a great example of an organisation amplifying its message by inviting a simple action from the public – to pour an ice bucket over themselves! Viral marketing strategies also invite user-generated content, like reinterpretations or replications of something.
What are the ingredients of viral marketing?
What type of content is likely to go viral? There are three main ingredients of viral content:
● Crisp and catchy
Catchy and precise content with the target keywords or images displayed prominently is most likely to go viral. This is because viral content needs to be attention-grabbing.
The makeup company elf created a viral TikTok campaign with the hashtag #eyeslipsface, which encouraged users to share their pictures. This kind of interactive and personalised content is likely to go viral.
● Humanised and ethical
Content that feels genuine, ethical, and humanised is shared for all the right reasons. Human interest stories and sensitive content which is informed and shows that you ‘care’ is likely to be shared.
What’s the verdict?
So – is viral content hackable? It is impossible to predict precisely if the content created by a brand will go viral. However, brands can still craft a strategy to increase the shareability of their content.
A video marketing strategy prioritises targeting the right audience, increasing interactivity, and responding sensitively to global events and human interest stories. Marketing is sometimes a game of chance, but that should not stop brands from trying to win with good content.