What We Can Learn From The Most Shared Videos Of 2013

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YouTube has released its list of most viewed ads of 2013.  Chances are pretty good that you have seen at least one, if not more, of them.  One thing that I find interesting is that YouTube’s list of top viewed ads and Unruly’s list of most shared ads are not exactly the same.

I think that one reason for this discrepancy is that, just because a video has a lot of views, it doesn’t mean that people are actually sharing it.  Another possibility is that people may have had to watch certain ads on YouTube because they were ads that were placed before the actual video that they wanted to see.  However, even if this is the case, an ad placed in this manner is a great way to help push your ad into the holy grail of viral because, as we all know, the first step in going viral, after creating a good video, is actually helping people become aware of your video.

One thing in common with all of these ads is that all of these brands focused more on the content of the video than actually promoting the brand.  Some of the top ads were Superbowl commercials.  Obviously, this helped push their success.  You should note though, that the Superbowl videos are towards the bottom of the most viewed list.

Another thing that the ads on the lists have in common is that they all elicit emotion and, interestingly enough, they were not all funny.  A good example of an ad that provoked an emotion outside of the humor genre was Dodge’s “God Made a Farmer”; which was their Superbowl commercial this past year.  The simplicity of this ad is part of its charm but don’t be fooled.  This is a very strategic and professional spot.

Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” didn’t talk about the product.  Instead, the company told a story that its target woman audience could relate to.  It was also the most viewed ad of all time.

Pepsi Max with the help of Jeff Gordon used a TV teaser and at the end of the spot invited you to see more.  Reddit also helped contribute to this ad’s popularity. This ad is a good example of how people will watch longer content if the content is compelling.  This ad is also a good example of the growing trend of prank videos.

Kmart created the spot “Ship My Pants”; which was a risky campaign, as not everyone appreciates that kind of humor.  Their ad received a lot of shares and views but I would be interested to see if it has turned into more sales.  I would also be interested to know what part of its customer base may have been offended by its campaign.  Such a risky campaign doesn’t seem to be consistent with the family image that Kmart, and its parent company Sears, has.

Not all of the brands on this list were big brands.  The video “Girls Don’t Poop,” with the product Poo-Pourri was one of the videos that talked the most about the product and was created by a start-up company.  Like the  Kmart ad, it is a risky example of bathroom humor.  However, with this particular ad, the company did a good job of engaging the audience and telling them what the product was all about.  It also proves that you don’t have to be a big brand to get viral success.

All of these brands prove that emotion, creativity, storytelling, and proper placement can help make your ads more shareable.

What was your favorite ad of 2013?

Jayson Duncan
This monthly Social Media and Video column is contributed by Jayson Duncan. Jayson is an Orange County, California filmmaker and owner of the video production company Miller Farm Media. In 2003, Jayson began using video to help others tell their stories through his video production company, Miller Farm Media. He has created videos for Fortune 50 companies. In his spare time Jayson enjoys playing his guitar, song writing, and spending time with his wife, Gretchin.
Jayson Duncan

@millerfarmmedia

Orange County video production company. We create videos to explain ideas, business and products using the art of story.
RT @KristinELEM: Learning about #videomarketing for the @OrangeCountyAMA with @millerfarmmedia. Strategy, plan, action! - 3 days ago
Jayson Duncan
Social Media Strategies Summit

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