6 Reasons Your Marketing Video Isn’t Going Viral

It’s not a marketing secret or even a trend. Video marketing has become a sizable slice of the digital marketing pie. B2B, B2C, enterprise level, start-up, mom and pop shop – video does not discriminate. It works for everyone. According to Syndacast , when more than half of internet users watch videos online – every day – visual media naturally becomes a part of the air modern marketers breathe.


Make one of your goals to put out relevant, engaging videos and you can reap all the benefits of this content medium:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Social media engagement
  • Better lead generation numbers
  • Customer acquisitions
  • And, hopefully, some positive likability-loyalty points if you pull off humor or empathy through your video

When your goal is viral video marketing, on the other hand, your brand has the potential to become the face the entire world is watching and talking about – for your viral moment in time. A viral video creates a supercharge effect for all the normal benefits of video marketing.

So, how do you get your video to go viral? If you’re having trouble achieving viral lift-off, you may not have gotten the formula quite right. It takes a relevant idea, creativity, an emotional connection, and some technical SEO – as well as a lot of luck. This last factor is something you don’t actually have any control over.

What you can control is the viral-worthiness of your video. Go through this checklist of reasons why your video isn’t going viral and prime your visual content for viral success. That way, when lady luck does smile on your marketing video, it has everything in place to make it to the stars.

1. Your Video Doesn’t Evoke Emotion

Look at some of the best viral marketing videos:

Google Android’s Friend’s Furever – a mash-up of the cutest and strangest animal friends as part of their ‘Be together. Not the same.’ campaign.

Chipotle’s The Scarecrow – a dystopian video about sustainable farming and food production as part of their ‘Food with Integrity’ campaign.

And then, one of the funniest marketing videos of all time. DollarShaveClub.com’s Our Blades campaign.

Whether these videos warm your heart, trigger empathy, or crack you up, they are all playing off of emotion. Your video may be entertaining, filled with celebrities, or the most helpful piece of visual kit your customers ever saw. If it’s not creating an emotional response, it’s not going to go viral.

2. It’s Still in the Box

Viewers share video content that will wow their friends. So, in order to go viral, you’ve got to be original. This can be tough because if you go too out-of-the-box with your creative idea, you’re going to lose interest before you even get started.

Here’s an example of a totally fresh approach on the typical perfume commercial from Kenzo World. The genius here is that it still features a pretty woman in a glitzy, romantic environment, just like every other perfume ad. It’s just that this woman doesn’t act like the typical female fragrance heroine.

When coming up with ideas, ask if someone watching your video will be taken by surprise. Think about it, when you are wowed by something out of the ordinary, you don’t want to keep it a secret. You want to tell other people so they can get that same thrill. When you can motivate that response, you may have a viral marketing video.

3. You’re Not Using the Right SEO for Your Video

Before anyone can share your video, they first have to find it. You need to optimize your video for search engines to make it easy for people to find your content.

  • Your video title should be clear and appealing, i.e. very clickable
  • Use relevant keyword tags
  • Write an accurate description for your video – this is also where you want to put your call-to-action
  • Create some quality back links by reaching out to relevant websites and industry bloggers that may be interested in sharing your content
  • Share your video on your social media sites

4. You Don’t Have a Thriving YouTube Channel

YouTube isn’t the only social network for videos. Facebook, for example, is a huge visual media contender with over 4 billion video views every day. Still, when it comes to optimizing the conditions for your video to go viral, you do want to milk YouTube for all it’s worth.

In order to achieve a higher ranking on YouTube, factors like the number of views, ratings, and comments matter – but so does channel activity. Brands that regularly upload content to their YouTube channels, and have collected a high number of subscribers, are going to be more readily found on YouTube and more likely to have videos that go viral.

5. You’re Marketing Video Isn’t Part of a Larger Strategy

This is where your strategic marketing comes into play. Your marketing video is going to make a bigger splash if it is a part of a well thought out content marketing strategy.

Is your viral hopeful part of a wider marketing campaign? How receptive is your audience to this campaign? What type of feedback are you getting so far from your other content?

Have you been priming your social media followers and email newsletter subscribers with the right mood so the tone of your wow-factor video doesn’t come completely out of left field? For example, if Chipotle had been going in the direction of good humor on their Facebook page in the weeks leading up to The Scarecrow video, the context of the brand’s deep, thoughtful message wouldn’t have translated well.

Do you have other marketing videos planned? Is it part of a series? Should you have a follow-up or sequel video to capitalize on the effect of your viral video, like Dollar Shave Club’s Let’s Talk About #2 and Razor Man?

Is your landing page designed in such a way as to seamlessly flow with the personality and messaging of your viral video so when people do click to your website, they’re likely to stay there and explore?

6. You’re Not Lucky

Even if you have a viral-worthy video, that doesn’t mean it will go viral. Luck, timing, an experienced choreographer, planetary alignments – a lot goes into a video going viral. But, by making the effort to create a marketing moving picture masterpiece, you still win. You’ll have a high-quality, original, engaging marketing video that will make your viewers feel that much more is attached to your brand. And, of course, when you do get a viral one in six months, your millions of viewers will check out your earlier gem too.

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.