Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Unruly Reveals The Science Behind Viral Video Sharing

Last week, online video technology consultants Unruly released “The Science of Sharing”, a white paper describing the best practices companies should observe when creating sharable viral videos. The white paper was released a couple of days after YouTube announced that they were making channel management easier.

To research and write the white paper, Unruly analysed statistical data gathered using Unruly ShareRank™, the company’s patented online video ranking software, based on views, shares and engagement. According to the white paper, which you can apply to have emailed to your inbox:

[ShareRank] is powered by a proprietary algorithm containing 100+ variables, trained from a data set of over 329 billion video views and 10,000+ consumer responses to predict the social impact of video content. 

Unruly measured the impact of 12 different commercials which were televised during Super Bowl XLVII and released online. To work out why each video was or was not successful, Unruly rated each on its content and the emotional response it evoked in the audience. The success of each advert was dependent on how often it was shared on social media networks.

Each video was marked on the strength of the psychological response it elicited in the viewer, as well as the strength of its social motivation: why people would want to share the video and how likely this was to happen. The two scorecards below, both from the white paper, show the exact categories considered and the scale to which videos could be considered sharable:

The two adverts which scored the highest, Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” and Ram’s “Farmer”, evoked strong emotional responses of warmth and happiness in the audience, who were motivated into sharing the video to spread this emotional experience and to get a reaction.

”Brotherhood” was the most successful ad overall, achieving an Unruly ShareRank
score of 7.9 and an impressive share rate of 18.6%. “Farmer” came second, with a ShareRank score of 7.3.

In the white paper’s conclusion, Unruly draws attention to the fact that neither of the top ranked videos used humour to elicit a response, setting them apart from the majority of the Super Bowl commercials. Citing the data gathered during the study, Unruly advises companies to avoid humour as an emotional response, if possible, in order to “stand out”:
Hilarity is a fickle trigger – brands need to be exceptionally funny, or their content falls flat. We recommend brands move away from humor for future media events in order to be remembered and shared.
Viewers, Unruly says, need to feel an extremely strong, positive emotional response from a video if they are then going to share it with their friends. Videos which evoke emotions on the stronger end of the scale are three times more likely to be shared than videos that evoke weaker responses.

In other viral video news, YouTube has made channel management much easier, making it possible for users managing multiple channels using a Google+ account to create new ones from the same account.

In an announcement last week, Staff Software Engineer Brett Hobbs encouraged channel managers to take advantage of the new, useful feature. Of course, the feature won’t only benefit users: YouTube channel managers who haven’t got a Google+ account will create one, increasing the social networks membership figures.

Do you agree with the findings of Unruly’s white paper? What do you think makes videos more sharable?       


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