Storytelling matters most with video content virality

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
​Marketers should learn from fast-moving consumer goods brands - creative storytelling increases social shares, engagement.

​Video content can help businesses achieve many things, from website conversions and social chatter to viral and worldwide recognition, but Unruly notes there is a science behind content creation. Brafton has reported on data showing that approximately 25 percent of a video’s total social shares occur within three days of publication. Brands focusing on video marketing must develop strategies to promote these content types heavily in the first 72-hour span, or else key performance metrics won’t look as bright.

While Unruly does note video content has a shelf life – after three months, a video will have had 66 percent of its total shares – businesses can create ongoing campaigns that drive new and existing site visitors back to past visual clips. According to the same Unruly study, entertainment and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands made strides in the first quarter of 2013 with video content creation. In fact, these two industries increased their social video shares by 78.2 percent over Q4 2012.

It should come as no surprise that entertaining videos drive the most engagement, but companies across other industries can learn from what these brands and FMCG businesses do to generate buzz online. Take, for example, Oreo, which recently revamped its marketing strategy to embrace online media. During the Super Bowl, Oreo aired a commercial that promoted its core offering and entertained audiences. Not to mention, the cookie brand has found its niche in social media, driving engagement through the roof with each new post.

Video marketing virality starts and ends with high-quality storytelling – how are you getting your story across?

But how can an FMCG product like a cookie sustain such dramatic online buzz? It starts and ends with high-quality storytelling. Oreo understands that in order to retain the attention of its distracted audience, it needs to produce media that gets a certain message across and causes people to turn to their friends and talk about what they just saw on TV and on YouTube.

A December 2012 NetBase study found that video sharing was the top web activity among ​adolescents​, No. 2 among Millennials and even higher among older audiences. Brands must produce videos that don’t sound drab and corporate – they’re likely to generate more returns on their investments from quality storytelling and creativity than linear and generic clips.

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  • Jimm Fox

    While I agree that good storytelling is a key element in achieving any degree of viral distribution for your video, I question the broad-brush implications that viral video is the ‘correct’ approach to any video marketing project. Viral video (when done well…) is very effective at raising awareness for a product or service. If your prospect is further along the buying cycle then other approaches to video are more appropriate. Unfortunately, articles like this never make that distinction and consequently readers are left with the assumption that every corporate video should attempt to be ‘viral’.

    • TedKarczewski

      Hi Jimm-

      Thanks for reading. This article aimed to communicate the percentage of shares a marketer can expect from new video content and when they can expect to see results. I would argue that a brand cannot do anything to create a viral video – it’s more of a natural process that results from effective storytelling. Any video approach can go viral, it’s not as clear-cut as “This video I made is a viral video,” because that doesn’t make much sense. All visual content thrives with good storytelling, as a poorly written script will push people away and ruin any social-sharing opportunities.

      I would advise readers to NEVER think a corporate video should attempt to go viral – focus on what you’re trying to say first, and if you nail the story, you’ll see the benefits online.

      Thanks!
      Ted