LOLProject research into how videos go viral


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Research findings into why videos are shared, what makes a video viral and how to make a video go viral. The LOLProject Research involved 50+ ad creatives from leading agencies across the world, and resulted in the creation of TubeRank -

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LOLProject research into how videos go viral

  1. 1. LOL_ProjectResearch findings overview powered by
  2. 2. Core research introductionThe context and challenge The great thing about YouTube is that it’s helped democratise video making. On the flipside now everyone, and every brand, thinks they can make a viral video, yet sadly 99% of videos on YouTube are junk. The LOL_Project was a research programme, run between March to December 2012, aimed at understanding how to create viral videos. The ultimate aim is to use the insights from the research to create a free web app to help makers and marketers design viral videos - and make YouTube a better place ;-)Research project objectives 1. Discover how creative people think, and how they generate *creative ideas* 2. Discover how the creative process within creative agencies works, and how to evaluate creative ideas 3. Find out why videos go viral, and what the key ingredients of a viral video are 4. Find out why people share videos
  3. 3. Top line research numbers People & agencies Geo 53 people interviewed Interviews across 4 countries 42 agencies UK, France, US, Australia Interview numbers Most frequent findings 47 interviews Most frequent phrase: LOL, Cup of tea? 2400 minutes of LOL chatz Most frequent videos mentioned: Gangnam Style, Number of cups of tea drunk 38 Old Spice Man Number of beers drunk 4 (thanks John)
  4. 4. Who took part ★ Chris McCafferty @ Kaper ★ Mark Lainas @ Ogilvy ★ Lawrence @ Karmarama ★ Naomi Martin & Nathan Guerra @ AMVBBDO ★ Claire Coady @ BBH ★ Neil Kleiner @ AIS ★ Dan Evans @ Hello You Creatives ★ Nick Darken @ Albion London ★ David Newton @ Razorfish ★ Sinead Doyle @ Essence ★ Graeme Harrison @ Fast Track ★ Paul Snoxel @ Partners Andrews Aldridge ★ Graham Drew @ VCCP ★ Steve Ray @ Starcom Media Vest ★ Hamish Nicklin @ Google ★ Jon Burkhart @ Urgent Genius ★ Hugh Reinbolt @ Vizeum ★ John Bennett @ McCann ★ James Whatley @ Ogilvy ★ Chris Buckley & Martina Mattoni @ TMW ★ Jeremy @ Viral Orchard ★ Nicole Yershon @ Ogilvy ★ Jeremy @ Weapon 7 ★ Oli Newton @ Starcom Media Vest ★ Kate Miltner @ Jam ★ Pat McCaren @ Dare ★ Sudeep Gohil @ Droga5 ★ Paul Curry @ the internet ★ Tom Rothenberg @ McCann ★ Pete Fyfe @ MediaCom ★ Will & Jon @ BBC Comedy ★ Phil Snelgrove @ Zenith Optimedia ★ Matt Golding @ RubberRepublic ★ Pilar Barrio & Andrew Jennings @ MPG ★ Katie Hibbard @ Ogilvy ★ Rhiannon Monks @ OMD ★ Kwai Chi @ Social Partners (Grey) ★ Rob Ellis @ BBH ★ Claire Connachan & Darcie Tanner @ LBI ★ Rohan Tambyrajah @ Arena Media ★ Leo Ryan @ Ogilvy ★ Ruby Quince @ Freud ★ Louise Engelbertsen @ RKCR ★ Neville Hobson @Jangles ★ Luke Tipping @ 101 London ★ Enzo Annunziata @ Carat ★ Dom Baker M&C Saatchi ★ Charlotte Soussan @ Iris Worldwide
  5. 5. Company / agency representation
  6. 6. Questions asked to all participantsThe same questions were asked of all participants which were broken down into 2 core sections: creativity and sharing /virality. The 2 core question sections - Creativity - What’s your creative process? - How do you evaluate creative concepts? - What tools / resources do you use to aide your creative process? - Sharing / virality - What makes something viral? - Why do people share stuff ? - How would you judge viral success?
  7. 7. Key findings: creative process What’s your creative process?Answers about *creative process* were broadly broken into two: agency creative process, and personal creative process.Agency creative process: the majority of agency creative process focused around *understanding the brief*, some talkedabout *rewriting the brief* and others focused around *brainstorming with a team of diverse expertise* (e.g.technologists,creatives, planners). All specified that *inspiration* was a core factor in the process.Personal creative process: this was the most varied in response. Again, *inspiration* was a key factor, and two peopleinterviewed used specific trance techniques to help them think with a *tabula rasa* state of consciousness.Interesting specific findings Interview quotes - Research / insights were specified as being important in *Brutal simplicity of an idea is key* Dom @ M&C *understanding the brief* Saatchi - A mix of skills was regarded as the best way to brainstorm *I like to seek inspiration through - Inspiration was noted as a key part of the creative process decontextualising an idea* Ruby @ Freud - Being inspired by alternative experiences / arts was thought effective *You need to know the basic emotions / needs of your audience* Dan @ Hello Creatives
  8. 8. Key findings: creative evaluation How do you evaluate creative conceptsWhen speaking about deciding whether an idea was good or not there were two core responses: 1) Does it answer the brief2) It just feels right. The second response mostly came from Creative Directors who used their experience and judgement toanalyse ideas. When challenged about what they based their judgements around CD’s talked about *human truths* and*appealing to basic emotions*. Things that *stand out* and *haven’t been done before* were also considered as keyconsiderations for a successful idea. Things that *trigger emotions* were also considered important, as humans are emotivebeasts. More media orientated people considered the technical aspects of an idea more e.g. its length, format etc.Interesting specific findings Interview quotes - Intuition from experienced Creative Directors was a core response *Can you sum it up in one phrase?* Matt @ - Things that *stand out* or *hadn’t been done before* = good RubberRepublic - Some agencies operated an *open evaluation* process by sending *Interestingness / unexpectedness / round ideas / creative to the whole office to get broad feedback truthfulness* Jeremy @ Weapon7 - Ultimately ideas that *answered the brief* was a big tick *Why would I talk about it?* Graham @ VCCP
  9. 9. Key findings: creatively inspiring toolsWhat tools do you use to inspire creativity?When asked about their sources of inspiration, most people referenced random Google and YouTube searches and many hadwell-organised RSS feeds which they randomly read daily. Some people referenced going outside of the internet forreferences; one Creative Director talked about his love of painting and art; another talked about decontextualising ideas, andbeing inspired by outside ideas. One or two people talked about the influence of unfiltered spaces like Reddit, but most likedtheir content feeds filtered (to save time).Interesting specific findings Interview quotes - YouTube was regarded as one of the most inspiring places, but was *Podcasts / blog reading apps are a great way to regarded as difficult to navigate and find the good / relevant videos be inspired on the move* Jon @ Urgent Genius - Blogs and Twitter were referred to as useful filters to the good bits of *I find Evernote a great way to constantly the internet. Some liked the *unfiltered internet* e.g. Reddit aggregate ideas and inspiration* Louise @ RKCR - Some also referred to *external inspiration* from the world outside of *Walking around and seeing the real world is a the internet (e.g. going for a walk) great source of inspiration* Pat @ Dare
  10. 10. Key findings: viral triggersWhat makes something viral?This was billed as the *million dollar question*, however a number of people said the answer was simple *viral = goodcontent*. When asked to reflect what good content was, people generally then talked about things like content being funny,entertaining, shocking, sad, topical, well crafted. Two additional specific values were picked out too: relevance and extremes.Relevance refers to ensuring your creative matched your target communities; extremes mean making everything the*funniest* or *most shocking*. Other points mentioned in making something viral included *being quick to deliver* to avoidpeople clicking away, and also making sure your video is as *clickable* as possible, and the importance of seeding.Interesting specific findings Interview quotes - Viral = good content = relevant and extreme content *It has to wear its heart on its sleeve and be - Things that stimulate emotions and start conversations make uncomplicated* Neil @ AIS something viral *It’s got to be exciting - it’s got be fresh and new, - Example conversation starters: funny, shocking, sad, topical, craft and stand out from the crowd* Will @ BBC Comedy - Seeding is increasingly important due to the sheer amount of videos *Craft and attention to detail is important* Sudeep fighting for your attention on YouTube @ Droga5
  11. 11. Key findings: sharingWhy do people share stuff?Views on why people share stuff focused largely around three motivations: projection (to express themselves), nurturing (tobuild a relationship) and world domination (to build a following / show you’re cool). Lots of people talked about sharing as beingabout *status*, and referred to the desire to *be the first to share* a new video. Linked to this, people talked about *YouTubebragging rights* along the lines of *I saw X video when it had 301 views*. One person talked about the difference in sharinghabits between the sexes, with females being more likely to share advice / message-based campaigns, and males more likely tofocus on sharing for status sake.Interesting specific findings Interview quotes *Sharing says something about you. This is really - The 3 main motivations behind sharing = projection, nurturing and important for belief-based campaigns* Claire @ BBH world domination *Social media is about status. Getting a retweet / like - Ego and status is a key driver - particularly for Twitter-heads is a boost to your ego - which quickly becomes - There are differences in sharing between the sexes addictive.* Graham @ VCCP - There are different types of social sharing: e.g. retweeting, *Shared experiences are an important online commenting, curating / blogging phenomena* Oli, SMV
  12. 12. Key findings: viral evaluationHow would you judge success? The overall sentiment is that the number of views a video gets is still the core metric makers and marketers look at. Beyond views, shares and conversations around a video are considered critical success factors. The ratio of shares to views was mentioned as a clear metric of how naturally viral a video has gone. One person discussed how relevance is more important than reach (i.e. quality rather than quantity), and success should be measured on a video’s popularity in particular communities of interest.Interesting specific findings Interview quotes - Number of views is still regarded as the core success metric *I always look at views, sentiment and positive - Shares (Facebook / Twitter) and conversations (blog posts / Youtube associations with the brand* Matt @ RubberRepublic comments) are considered increasingly important. *Someone sharing your video, or remixing it is the - Share to view ratio is perhaps the simplest and rawest indication of ultimate validation of an idea* Paul @ Partners natural viral success (beyond paying for views as part of seeding). Andrews Aldridge *Success = does it meet your business and personal objectives, it’s as simple as that* Neville @Jangles
  13. 13. Research summaryOverview of key LOL learnings The 45+ interviews generated huge amounts of insight and sparked some great conversations around the whys and hows of making things go viral. If there was one key overall learning from all the conversations, it would be that there was definitely a gap in the ability to clearly explain why things go viral. Everyone had ideas of why people share stuff and could pick out the various viral triggers (e.g. funny, shocking, extreme etc.) in creative ideas, however few could 100% explain the viral phenomenon. Picking up on this point, we made it the LOL_Project’s core objective to come up with a framework to help people involved in the creative process design and analyse viral ideas - helping create more consistently viral content, and helping sell viral ideas more easily into colleagues and client. We’ve called this framework TubeRank.Thank yous A huge thank you to all the people who took part in my LOL_chats. Most of you didn’t have a clue why you were meeting me or what a LOL_chat may entail, however you all shared some real pearls and insights from you work and personal experiences. All of this insight has fed directly into the insight section of the app we’ve created, so hopefully all this useful knowledge will be shared to help people around the world make better (more viral) sh*t! I should also thank Liz & Will who were *chief badgerers* - helping set up meetings with people who probably didn’t really have the time to spend chatting LOLZ as part of their day jobs ;-)
  14. 14. What we did next . . . *TubeRank*Introducing TubeRankThe core objective for TubeRank is to provide a framework / process around An early design for TubeRank appwhich people can design and analyse viral videos.To do this TubeRank ranks videos according to their *conversation triggers*and *communities of interest*. TubeRank’s algorithm then adds a layer ofsocial data to each video (e.g. share / sentiment data), allowing us tounderstand the viral behaviour of a video i.e. why a video’s shared, where it’sshared and how much it’s shared.Using this structured video data, users can then make specific searchesacross conversation triggers and communities of interest to get inspirationfor what works. TubeRank also provides benchmarking data, tips and insightlinked to each search, to help back-up the user’s strategy.Have a play! *N.B. Early on in the process we dubbed the app Tube Rocket, but soon discovered RocketTube.comv.1 of the TubeRank app is now live. Have a play: is one of the world’s biggest gay porn sites - so quickly looked for other options ;-)
  15. 15. Finally, a little bit about the VAN teamA little bit about us Some of our team eating ice cream . . . VAN is a suite of apps to help people make, market and monetise viral videos. Grown out of specialist viral agency Rubber Republic, VAN provide apps aimed at helping different parts of the viral video making process, including planning and creation (TubeRank), amplification (Viral Ad Network) and IRL LOLZ and learning (#KittenCamp). VAN is headed up by Chris Quigley, has offices in Bristol and London (UK) and our apps are free to use globally.Join VAN As a suite of apps we want as many people as possible around the world using our apps and making more awesome content. VAN’s free to use by anyone - whether you’re a one-man-band or a creative at one of the world’s leading ad agencies. Join VAN:
  16. 16. Any questions, please give us a shout, we’d be happy to help ;-) @JoinVan