New Theory Explains What Makes a Video Go Viral: Scientific American

More than 10 million people have watched a YouTube video of an iPhone being pulverized in a blender. It’s actually a commercial for Blendtec — a company most viewers had probably never heard of. But with the viral clip, Blendtec let social networking spread its name and message rather than paying for a mass advertising campaign. And it worked like a charm.

Coker has come up with a recipe for success called the branded viral movie predictor algorithm. According to the algorithm, the four ingredients required for a video to go viral are congruency, emotive strength, network involvement, and something called “paired meme synergy.”

First, the themes of a video must be congruent with people’s pre-existing knowledge of the brand it is advertising. “For example, Harley Davidson for most people is associated with Freedom, Muscle, Tattoos, and Membership,” Coker explained on his website. Videos that strengthen that association meet with approval, “but as soon as we witness associations with the brand that are inconsistent with our brand knowledge, we feel tension.” In the latter case, few people will share the video, and it will quickly “go extinct.”

Second, only viral-produced videos with strong emotional appeal make the cut, and the more extreme the emotions, the better. Happy and funny videos don’t tend to fare as well as scary or disgusting ones, Coker said. [What Is the Most Disgusting Thing In the World?]

Third, videos must be relevant to a large network of people — college students or office workers, for example.

And last, Coker came up with 16 concepts — known on the Internet as “memes” — that viral-produced videos tend to have, and discovered that videos only go viral if they have the right pairings of these concepts. “When combined, some combinations appear to work better together than others,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries.

via New Theory Explains What Makes a Video Go Viral: Scientific American.

Good tips for social marketers online!

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