CAN YOU FORCE A VIDEO TO GO VIRAL?
No. No you can not.
Every once in a while, you might hear someone say in a marketing meeting that “we need to make a viral video for our product.” That in addition to, or rather than, a regular commercial campaign, you should also have a video that people will e-mail to each other, post on social networks, and otherwise share among themselves – with no cost to you when they do. It’s an idea with good intentions, but that makes little actual sense: you can’t make a viral video, you can only make a video that then goes viral naturally.
There’s a pervasive idea that virality is a formula, and someone out there knows the equation. Maybe it’s because a lot of popular videos share common elements – they have cute kids or cute animals, or they’re musical, or something surprising happens – that people assume a pattern exists to ensure millions of views. Unfortunately, there isn’t. While Google will turn up many how-to articles with the headline “HOW TO MAKE A VIRAL VIDEO” in big bold letters, the best advice these sites offer are a few minimal guidelines (which we’ll cover below), followed by the less helpful “keep trying until it works.”
The truth is that if a hard formula for a viral video existed, it’d be virtually impossible to keep it a secret. Everyone would be using it, and production/marketing companies like ours would be out of business. But what we can provide is a proven leg up over the competition.