5 Reasons Web Marketers Fail With Viral Video Campaigns

You’ve slaved away, put your blood and sweat into creating what you think is surely going to be one of the most popular online video campaigns of all time. You upload it to YouTube, you post it on your Facebook and tweet it to your friends and you wait. And then you wait some more. And some more. And you wonder to yourself, where did I go wrong? Why isn’t anybody watching my amazingly awesome viral video?

Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar to many online marketers and video creators. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five likely reasons why your online video campaign isn’t going viral. Hopefully this list will help you determine the problem, make adjustments or avoid creating a viral flop in the future.

Your Video Is Too Much Like A Commercial Ad

One of the biggest mistakes that advertisers and brands make when trying to market products online is that they create a video that reads as a commercial, rather than a story. When people watch videos online that look like advertisements they aren’t inclined to share these videos with their friends. People share videos that are funny, shocking or surprising. Therefore, rather than creating a commercial showcasing your product and how it works you should try to incorporate your product into something that is funny, fresh, original and doesn’t read as an advertisement.

Let’s look at Evian’s Roller Babies campaign as an example. The Roller Babies have got over 28 million views on YouTube. People know that it’s for Evian, as the video states at the beginning, “Let’s observe the effect of Evian on your body”. However, the true bulk of this video has almost nothing to do with Evian. It’s a video of babies roller skating and dancing.

Evian could have created a video in which they really educated consumers about the effects of Evian on your body – having people talk to the camera and provide facts and figures about what makes Evian so great. However, a video like that would be hard-pressed to get even a few thousand views.

Go back and look at your video. How many times do you show your product? How many times do you mention the name? Do you feel like you are watching a television commercial or like you are experiencing a funny or creative story? If it looks like a commercial ad that could be where you went wrong.

Your Campaign Is Unoriginal

There are literally hundreds of thousands of online video campaigns for consumers to watch at any given time so yours has to stand out. In the world of viral video, only the strong survive and to be strong you’ve got to be original. You want to blow people’s minds with new and interesting things they’ve never heard before, make them laugh like crazy, shock and awe or inspire your viewers with something that hasn’t been done before.

As an example, when Old Spice launched their Man Your Man Could Smell Like response campaign it received tons of attention and ultimately became the most popular web video campaign of all time. The reason this campaign was so successful (aside from the fact that it was run by Old Spice, a very well-known brand), was that it had never been done before. Many brands and people have tried to copy the Old Spice campaign since, from Cisco to politicians, but none have been able to repeat Old Spice’s success.

You Didn’t Spend Enough Time On Metadata

Another likely reason that nobody is watching your video is that you haven’t spent enough time on your metadata, or in other words, you haven’t written the best possible titles, tags and descriptions for your video. If you don’t write good metadata for your video then nobody will be able to find it when they are searching for videos in Google or on YouTube.

If you take the time to think about your metadata and utilize tools like the YouTube Keyword Suggestion Tool or guides like our own Complete Guide To YouTube Metadata to help you maximize your discoverability then you can make sure you won’t miss out on views just because people can’t find your videos anywhere. Trust us, if you put some time into coming up with great, popular keywords and phrases for your titles, descriptions and tags it will pay off.

You Aren’t Promoting It Right

A great video campaign on it’s own isn’t enough to go viral. You’ve got to promote it if you want people to find out about it. You can share your video with your own network via your Facebook and Twitter accounts, but unless you’ve got thousands of influential friends and followers then odds are this won’t be enough.

If you are promoting your video on your own then you should be doing everything you can to get your video out there and start getting views, from contacting influential bloggers to show them your video to posting it on your company blog or website, and asking everyone you know to share the video with their friends.

If you work for a big company or brand that has the budget for it then you may want to bring in an expert to help you market your campaign. However, if you bring in an outside promoter it’s important to ask them to see their previous work and how many views the video campaigns they have worked on in the past have gotten. After all, you want results!

Great Idea, Bad Execution

One possible reason that your video campaign didn’t go viral could be that you had a great idea but just didn’t do a good job of putting it together. Maybe your video failed on production quality, perhaps your actors were unattractive or not engaging. Perhaps you didn’t have a big enough budget to carry out your initial idea so you did the best you could.

Unfortunately, doing the “best you could” usually isn’t good enough in the world of viral video. For this reason you should come up with an idea that fits in your budget and then do everything you can to make it as good as possible. Don’t have money to pay professional actors? Put out a casting call for student actors who will work for free in order to get work for their reel. Need a video editor or graphic designer? Crowd source to find the best creatives for the lowest prices.

You should also ask your friends and co-workers for advice and suggestions along the way. Do they think that you are carrying out your idea to it’s fullest potential? If not, how do they think you can make it better?

Finally, if you’ve read through these five likely reasons that your online video campaign didn’t go viral and still don’t understand what happened then you just have to deal with the fact that tons of views just weren’t in the cards for this specific video. To some extent, the success of every viral campaign is based a little bit on luck and there is no avoiding that fact. Just come up with a new idea and try again. However, if you make sure to avoid the five common mistakes that were outlined here then you can greatly improve your odds of creating a video with viral potential. Good luck!

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