Tag Archives: viral

Viral Videos – The Thumbnail Appeal

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When dealing with videos before someone even watches it, the viewer looks at the thumbnail for the video. This is a first impression on viewers that can make a video stand out, whether the video is part of an already popular channel or a one-off upload. It all depends on the appeal of the thumbnail people use for the videos that can attract new/more views.

Looking at the following thumbnails for the YouTube channel Shep689 there is a significant increase in the amount of views for one video compared to the others:

viral videos shep689
Shep689 channel is a video-blogging (vlogging) channel; the videos are about the lives of the people involved. The thumbnails represent a part of what happened in the video. So why has one video seen a massive increase compared to the others? Looking at other channels like the sex appeal FailArmy and other fail/win compilations have as their thumbnails, or FreddieW with his action-packed, “what is happening” video thumbnails.

viral videos compilation

viral videos freddie

The thumbnail – acting as an insight into the video appeals to individuals. From expressing a part of a story there is this idea that viewers are more likely to watch something that shows something – sex appeal, violence, danger, an emotion or even the potential event of something happening. Going from a “that looks interesting” so I will watch it, to a “I wonder what will happen” the thumbnail of a video has a significant impact on selling the video.

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Viral Videos – Actionable

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There are videos on YouTube that go viral for a different reason compared to cute animals or funny sketches, these videos go viral because they have a message that promotes the viewer to do something – to take action. The action can be as small as sharing the video and promoting a change, clicking on a website to support something, or bring global attention to something that had been overlooked, much like the impact and effect KONY 2012 had on a global scale.

Videos portray action as a way to get things noticed and a way to enlighten people about issues, using the following viral video “PhoneBloks” I will explain some key points about why it went viral.

1. Relevance – [nearly] everyone has a smartphone and has similar complaints about the components of the smartphone.

2. The problem – people have stockpiles of out-dated technology that is no longer being used or has broken down. What can be done?

3. Questioning big business – the idea of “design technology that does not last” is a cash flow for big business, though has this always been the case and what can people do to stop forking out all this money? They can’t unless they create something better.

4. Solution – finding a solution that could revolutionize the amount of electronic waste that is produced by throwing out technology, this video comes up with a solution that makes sense to a viewer. Shown by each component of the phone is a different (detachable) block, the blocks connect to a base which connects everything together, with electrical signals traveling through the pins to get everything to work. If a block causes problems a simple detachment and replacement is all that is needed, instead of throwing out the entire phone.

5. The overall capabilities of the PhoneBloks – “A phone worth keeping” – selling point.

6. Action – the video asks for “your voice” to get this idea running and encourages people to help in making this idea possible, by sharing “your voice”.

The video has a great selling point in what it is trying to accomplish though it is a basic idea that is just an idea trying to become reality. The video promotes subtle action by crowd-sourcing interest in the phone and getting people to show support for it to be made to show potential creators of the PhoneBloks that people want it.

Viral Videos – Emotion and Scarcity

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Looking through the videos I watch on YouTube and other social media sites they all provoke some type of emotion that makes me want to watch it and share it. Though, how does one simple identify what emotion has a greater effect on the viewer – enough to make them continue watching and share it?

There is the idea that each individual has their own taste in videos – as they do in other aspects of their lives such as clothes, food and friends. Though when it comes to the basic human emotions, they are universally understood regardless of individuality, these emotions are Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise – utilizing these emotions and providing a way to evoke them in videos is seen to be a constant concept if wanting to make a video go viral.

In this post by Sprout Social, making videos resonate with the viewer is a basic step in ensuring some views and in achieving a successful video – though resonating emotion is not enough. Contrasted by this Quartz article coincidentally named “The secret to viral success is there is no secret to viral success” breaking down the idea that the popularity of anything viral on the internet is the collective combination of popular past ideas and adding a little twist.

Quarts post mentions that the idea of makes something viral – when dealing with advertising, is scarcity and keeping a secret idea, much like taking something already made and adding some “secrets” to it to create a new product. As understandable as it works for products the idea for multiple viral videos to be taken from one simple idea falls short – such as the Harlem Shake – everyday there was more and more videos relating to the Harlem Shake from places all over the world in all different styles – people lost interest, the Harlem Shake was no longer scarce so therefore no longer unique and interesting to share.