October 7, 2013 by EmilyCRios
We’ve all seen a video that has gone viral or shared a meme of Gif that seems to be everywhere online, but what is it that makes content go viral?
According to digital strategist Mark Smiciklas, online sharing is driven by five factors: scarcity, share buttons, skimability, practical utility and consistency.
Professor Jonah Berger takes these ideas one step further. In “How to Create Viral Content,” Forbes contributor Dorie Clark discusses Berger’s book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On and that Berger believes there are six common factors that can lead to virality which are:
- Social Currency (does it make you look good?)
- Triggers (are you reminded of it often?)
- Emotion (does it make you feel something?)
- Publicness (are others seeing it?)
- Practical Value (is it useful?)
- Stories (is there a memorable narrative?).
According to Clark, Berger believes “It’s about building a message that everyone can share, rather than finding special people and convincing them to talk about your product.”
While the message is always important when it comes to getting content to go viral there seems to be an agreement that it is all about getting people to feel something emotionally.
In “The Secret Recipe for Viral Content Marketing Success” Kelsey Libert writes that “Emotions drive almost all behavior… A great deal of your decisions are informed by your emotional responses because that is what emotions are designed to do … The stronger the feeling, the more likely to spur a responsive action”
But what emotions should a content creator seek to evoke?
Derek Halpern feels that there are seven high-arousal emotions that can cause content to go viral which are awe, anger, anxiety, fear, joy, lust and surprise. These emotions make people feel something and when you feel these emotions you are more likely to want to talk about whatever made you feel them.
Viral content can be a simple image that makes you laugh or it can be something that is meant to spur you to action. The nearly 30 minute long Kony 2012 YouTube video put out by Invisible Children was a viral sensation in 2012 gaining 100 million views in less than a week. The video tells the story of Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony whose group is known for kidnapping children and forcing them to be soldiers. Regardless of whether people agree or disagree with Invisible Children the Kony 2012 video was a definite viral success. Instead of just having a campaign where the evilness of Kony was presented Invisible Children created a video that was of a father telling his young son about the evils of the world. The video set out to evoke a sense of anger of the cruelties that can exist in the world and a trigger a response that people can take action to create change.
What types of viral content do you respond to (like, share) more? Why do you think that is?
What types of emotions are you most like to respond to when it comes to viral content?