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The 5 key elements to making a Viral Video

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
the 5 key elements to making a viral video
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A viral video is the (usually) YouTube video that all your friends share on Facebook or a website. The 15 or 20 email’s that your coworkers send with the subject line “Funniest thing ever!”. They are the short videos that get millions of views on many different websites around the world and they have no advertising, marketing to promote them, and no Hollywood star acting in them so how on earth do they get spread so far and wide online?.

They all have one or more ingredient of what I call the W.O.W.A.H formula, the 5 themes that have the magical ability to get the highest views and the highest rotation, and even get run on some prime time Television News spots, now that’s marketing that works!

So Ben, tell me, What is the W.O.W.A.H formula?
let me explain… in video form…

W for WOW

These are the videos that depict someone or something so amazingly awesome and fantastic that you have to exclaim WOW, how on earth did they do that?.

This video has had over 4 million views and was if you can watch very carefully it’s an ingenious advertisement for Ray-ban sunglasses! (highly recommend checking out their other videos as well). In my opinion one of the best online and social media marketing campaigns that I have seen so far. However, I think that the brand shot was so small and brief that it might have missed the point a little.

Another website that uses video, that fits very nicely into this factor is Swedish Hero, its WOW, is about the fantastic technology used to create it, again another brilliant online marketing campaign that uses the power of sharing to its full advantage. When you finish reading this post, please take the time to go along to that site and have a play. It does take quite some time to load (which is a major putter-offer) but it is well worth the wait.


These are the ones that usually get the highest hits and are so funny that you can’t help but laugh, not to mention share on your social networks!

This was a fantastic social media campaign done by the brand “Old Spice”, it not only had over 16 million views but spawned a whole meme culture. The best quote for me “I’m on a horse” (you will understand when you watch the clip!). I know that I said these usually get the highest hits, however, I am pretty sure that by the end of the year that number will have doubled…

W for What?

Videos that fall under this category are the ones that make you exclaim, what on earth was that person thinking they could achieve by recording themselves doing that.

Not really useful for business, however, if you are really smart you might just be able to make a hit.

This has been view over 17 million times, by the way… I’m pretty sure that it has ruined this poor kid’s life but…

If a Marketing Manager had have thought quickly that kid could have landed a sponsorship deal from a toy manufacturer out of it!
“When defending myself from hoards of imaginary storm troopers I use the (insert brand name here) Light Saber” – cut to the kid doing thumbs up… I’m sure you get my drift…


(that is so sickeningly cute I think I’m going to die)

Anything that has Pandas, Kittens, Puppies, or Babies is always a sure-fire winner.

All that has to be said is 71 million views.

It is hard to manufacture this sort of video however Evian water did a pretty good job, of course, would require a budget the size of the GDP of Bolivia, however, they take almost all the essential factors into account.

25 million views…..
Evian also followed up with some great offline marketing as well, I really want one of these t’s!

and finally

H is for HMMMM

These are the ones that do the more professional circles, the nicely produced infographics that tell us some astounding facts and figures about whatever industry that we may be in..

So if your thinking about creating a viral video for your business or for fun, then take these factors into account and you might just have something.

The one last take away factor that you must remember is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! don’t try to hard and make sure you send it to your close personal friends first, before you post it on YouTube.

let others be the judge if you hit the magic W.O.W.A.H formula because the rest of the world will be judging it too!

If you have any other clips or if you think that I need to increase the length of my Acronym, please let us know!

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