Who wouldn't want to create a viral video? You pay to produce it once. Everyone loves it, so they share it with their friends. You don't need to pay much in the way of media because it's getting millions of views. All the big media publications draw attention to it, and it ranks well in search in both Google and YouTube.
You would think by now brands would realize that it's no easier to create a viral video than it is to create a Billboard hit or an Emmy-winning show. But, when brands reach out to agencies about producing video, they still often ask the agencies to "just create a viral video." If you've come to the realization that putting all your eggs in the viral-video basket might be too risky for you, then here's an approach that should produce more predictable results.
Leverage your consumer
Try asking your consumer to upload video content for you (reviews, how-tos, recipes, etc.), which will allow you to create scale (potential for creation of hundreds of digital assets). If you have had bad luck soliciting videos and don't have millions of dollars like Doritos to promote as part of a Super Bowl ad, here are three tips:
Chances are you already have some form of written reviews. Make sure you don't ask for video submissions in the same location you ask for text. When asking a consumer for two things, they will almost always take the easier option.
Offer some form of incentive for a video upload, as it will require a time investment from your consumer. Giving consumer access to new products prelaunch works well, but make sure to follow FTC disclosure guidelines. Consider hiring a company that specializes in consumer-video capture and distribution. Make sure the company only does video. It's tough to be an expert at all things. If the company is focused on text, image, audio, etc., then it won't be able to direct sole focus on the complications of video.
Show consumers what a good consumer video looks like. Don't assume they know what type of content they should be producing. If you can showcase a couple of good examples from consumers, it will make it much easier for others to know what to do. To get content, you need content.
Ensure you have a centralized place to capture, tag, and review the video
Make sure videos are tagged appropriately so it's clear exactly what product is being discussed. Everything should be data-based by product so they can be syndicated later to product pages on commerce sites.
Transcribe all videos to prepare for the possibility of a legal review. This will also make it much easier to select videos to distribute more broadly.
Add the appropriate metadata so the videos can be optimized for search. Search "How to tousle" on Google, and you'll see a brand (Herbal Essences) that is doing it well.
Gain the appropriate rights for distribution. Ensure you have the appropriate rights and releases to distribute the content to other locations (YouTube, Facebook, brand site, mobile, banners, microsites, etc.).
Proactively distribute the videos
Leverage the reach of YouTube, and automate distribution (the tagging you did earlier will help with search). LG Electronics does a great job with this on their YouTube channel, and the company has been rewarded with millions of user-generated content (UGC) views with no media spend. Check out LG's YouTube channel, and click on any of the product categories to see lots of UGC.
Feed the videos directly to a wall on Facebook (and push into newsfeed to drive engagement). In addition, ensure links to retailers are present within the video.
Increase time on your site by two minutes by adding consumer video.
Integrate selected consumer videos into banners. These executions can drive an increase in click-through rate from anywhere between three to eight times.
Drive ecommerce through the addition of consumer videos to product pages on retailer websites.
Presence of video on a product page can yield a lift in conversion from 6 to 36 percent. As an example, Diapers.com does a great job featuring consumer video on its pages.
Any consumer can be an influencer if their content publishes in the right locations. Why hope video goes viral when you can make video initiatives more predictable?
David Rubinstein is CRO for EXPO.
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