The average person now watches more than an hour and a half of online video per day, with approximately 15% averaging more than three hours per day. It’s clear we love watching video content, and brands are working increasingly hard to make their video content more shareable.
Video Sharing Is Red Hot on Social Media
Impressive numbers to be sure. But how do you add fuel to the fire? Simple: by making videos that are more shareable. The best way to get your video seen is by making it something people want to share. Not by paying to advertise it.
Yet what are the odds of getting people to share your video? Actually, quite good. After watching a branded video they enjoyed, 83% of consumers said they’d consider sharing it with their friends. We’ll take those odds any day.
We’d love to tell you there’s an exact formula for making shareable or viral videos… but there is no magic formula. What we do know are the categories most-shared videos fit into, as well as the psychology behind social sharing. One of the most widely known experts on viral content is Jonah Berger, author of “Contagious.” Berger divides viral content into six categories: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Stories. There’s also a separate viral index based on Maslow’s Hierarchy.
BuzzSumo put Facebook’s most-viral posts of 2017 into these five categories:
- Practical hacks and life tips
- Adorable animals
- Just plain awesome and inspiring content
- Food & recipes
- Music videos (for our purposes, we can ditch this one)
Does your video fit into one of these categories? Great! The even better news is that video is inherently watchable, and people want more and more of it every day. You don’t have to go viral to be a raving success with video on social networks. We looked at 9 highly shared videos and broke down the winning attributes you can use for your business. Let’s go to the videos.
1. Dollar Shave Club
Our first video comes to us from Dollar Shave Club, and it’s humbly titled “Our Blades Are F***ing Great.” Smartly setting the tone in the title, they don’t even wait for the first frame of the video to get the ball rolling. In the video, we follow the CEO around their warehouse giving us ridiculous reasons to love their razors. This video checks off both entertainment and practical value that could save you some money. With more than 25 million views on YouTube, these guys sure shaved some dollars off their ad budget. This video was liked more than 120K times and shared more than 49.28K times.
2. Dude Perfect
If you didn’t know flipping water bottles so they land upright was officially a thing, you will after watching this video. You’ll see men bouncing water bottles two stories in the air, up ladders and onto recliners — even teaching babies their flip techniques. This one hits the just plain amazing category, it also has a wow factor that makes you want to share it with friends. More than 34 million people on YouTube watched water bottles landing upright in this trick-filled romp. The video also racked up 715K likes and 5K shares.
Talk about a great tip. Did you know you can cut the bottom off your romaine lettuce, stick it in some water for a few days, and then regrow it in your garden? More than 246 million people watched this practical 1 minute 13 second video teaching you “How To Grow Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps.” A whopping 6.5 million shared this video by Goodful, and 149K commented on the genius hack; likes reached more than 767K. What makes this video so shareable? It’s firing on all cylinders, it has practical value and a great story, and it’s social currency — you’d get a wow from a friend who watched this for the first time.
4. The Dodo
There’s an old entertainment adage: never work with children or animals. Good thing The Dodo didn’t hear about it. Their video “Dogs and Kids Growing Up Together” has brought in more than 381 million views, about 2.5M likes and an astounding 8.2M shares. This entirely awwww-inspiring video pairs babies and dogs, some of them puppies. Too cute not to share. This is an adorable animal home run.
In the fast-paced explainer video “How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes” by CuriousInventor, we get an informative and visual introduction to how Bitcoin works. We’re taken through an example Bitcoin transaction and the way the block chain technology works. This timely video was originally published in 2014, and it has since racked up 5 million views and 41K likes. There’s no ukulele music, it’s straightforward and well-presented, and it’s been rewarded with more than 12.8K shares. Given the ways Bitcoin is shaping society, this one fits into the practical category. The clear presentation provides value about an important topic, which makes it highly shareable.
It’s hard to have a list of the most popular videos on social media without cats. This delightful explainer video called “Why do cats act so weird?” deconstructs just what makes cats so oddly watchable — in life and online. The charming animation and scientific information make a highly engaging combination. This Ted-Ed video was viewed more than 4 million times and liked 78K times. The video went on to be shared more than 42K times. Animals are the subject here, but the content is just plain amazing. When complex ideas are concisely described, the results can be fascinating — and highly shareable.
7. Tech Insider
Tech Insider created magic with this animated explainer video showing just how deep the ocean really is. This fascinating video puts the ocean depth into perspective by comparing it to things we can understand, like mountains. This informative and enlightening look at the ocean garnered more than 21 million views and 310K likes; it was shared 21K times. This is a good example of going all in. It’s not funny or snarky; it’s simply amazing to contemplate the vastness of the ocean. So awesome that people just had to share it.
Our next video has helpful clothing tips. However, they aren’t just any wardrobe tips, these ones are some seriously next-level hacks. Blossom’s “8 ways to transform and upgrade your wardrobe” video racked up more than 244 million views, 3 million likes, and 5.3 million shares by cleverly transforming clothing in ways you never knew possible. It fits the practical tips category, it’s got a wow factor, and it’s social currency to show off your newfound hack.
And if you think that’s inventive, you won’t believe what they did with a dirty pan and a dryer sheet. Check out Blossom’s “The easiest way to save a scorched pan without scrubbing!” Genius.
9. Delicious Recipes
Our final video is a how-to on plating chocolate. @DeliciousVids tallied more than 1.2 million views of their chocolate plating video on Twitter. A visual feast that clocks in under 30 seconds, the video shows fun, creative ways to plate up your next chocolate confection and amaze your dinner guests. The video garnered more than 1, 337 retweets and 3,935 likes. Recipes are an entire most-popular category in themselves. What sets a video like this apart is the visual storytelling that makes you want to share it.
You’ve just seen some of the best examples of shareable video around. Here are some ways to increase your odds of being even more shareable.
Different Networks Need Different Strategies
What plays on your emotions in Facebook isn’t the same as what will in the slightly more cerebral Twitter or the more aesthetically pleasing Instagram. You’re not going to hit a home run on Facebook with a sleek sofa photo — unless there’s a cat playing the piano on it.
Be Helpful With How-Tos and Recipes
In a list of most viral Facebook posts of 2017, practical hacks took 5 of the top 10 spots. Recipes took 5 of the top 25 spots.
Get to the Point, Fast
Make your impact in the first second. Start telling your story, create intrigue, and do what it takes to hook viewers quickly. Open big.
Make Sure You’re Mobile
Be More Human
Tell stories, inject emotion, and create connection. Show faces, too. According to Twitter research, the presence of people can increase by +133% the emotional intensity viewers feel from an ad.
Many people watch video content silently in public. Use subtitles and call outs, especially on Facebook where 85% of viewers watch video silently.
Time It Right
Don’t Get Caught Up in Vanity Metrics
“100 engagements from people most likely to become your customers may be worth more to you than 10,000 from people who will never do business with you,” says digital marketing expert Mark Traphagen.
You’re Being Shared More Than You Think
Sharing can’t always be measured. About 84% of outbound sharing isn’t tracked. Understand Dark Social.
Stand for Quality
All of the videos here made our list because they do something really well. Even though incoming traffic links won’t count as “shares,” they’ll result in more “views.” Love your content, and other people will love it too.
If you’re still warming up to the idea of video, now’s the time to jump in. 85% of those we surveyed say they’d like to see even more video from brands in 2018. Find new ways to connect using the ideas here, and start creating more of the funny-helpful-interesting-entertaining-emotional-adorable-delicious videos people will want to share.