What’s the first law of viral videos?
Fair question. I hadn’t really considered the rules yet… I was spoofing someone that would have the arrogance to cite “viral video laws.” But Joe’s question got me thinking about actually researching what makes a video viral. Then I realized it would be less work to suck down my fourth cup of coffee and make up my own.
So here they are, folks. The Immutable Laws of Viral Video.
- The definition of viral video is that the video prompts others to share it. It doesn’t mean it’s good by any definition.
- Stupid sells.
- Nobody can predict what becomes viral. My videos that achieve modest viral status (like the inane Google Earth one) are almost never the ones I expect.
- If you’re trying to market via viral, stay “unpackaged” and funny. And don’t get your hopes up. 2007 will be the “year of corporate viral video attempts” and most will fail.
- Topical is important. Viral is subject to “pile on,” whereby one viral explosion creates copycats. A clip is more likely to be discovered if it contains keywords from other viral videos that are being searched.
- There is no cure for the video virus, but it’s not life-threatening.
- Duration is “make or break.” Short will always outperform long. Stay under a minute for best results and never go beyond 3 minutes.
- The creator of the “Immutable Laws of Viral Video” (me) is allowed to break law number 7.
- There is no law number 9.
- If you try too hard to be viral, you probably won’t be.
In the early generation of viral videos, certain themes have emerged: dancing videos, music videos, impromptu moments, pranks, clever movie scenes, parodies, celebrity moments and, of course, AFV-like falls and stunts. … To get a glimpse into the “Viral Video Hall of Fame” see the About.com list of the top 10 viral videos of all times, and a more recent list.