Everyone knew it was a growing phenomenon, but new data that reveals just how much the popularity of online video sharing has grown is taking even experts by surprise. A study running since 2006 reveals that it is now almost 50 times as popular as it was at the beginning of the period and that adverts, as well as social and artistic videos, are getting passed around by people who enjoy them.
Ads for fast moving consumer goods are the ones shared most, with ads for entertainment products – especially trailers for new movies and video games – coming in second. There is a great deal of variation in the length of successful ads; however, the average length of those at the top is 36 seconds, giving newcomers a ballpark figure to aim for. Although big companies dominate the top ten list of most-shared ads, there is still room for innovative ideas from smaller players.
It is not always about positive response. One of the campaigns that has been most consistently successful over years is Dove’s Real Beauty ads, whose repeat sharing was partly a consequence of the ads being passed round by people criticizing them. The question for the brand, however, is whether the number of people put off by the criticism exceeds the number who are more inclined to purchase due to increased brand visibility; the fact they keep running the ads suggests that it does not. This illustrates how even negative publicity can sometimes have a plus side for marketers.
One thing to bear in mind is that as more sharing is going on there are more ads out there to be shared; therefore, an individual ad is not likely to be shared 50 times more than it would have been in 2006. The really interesting thing about the study is that it enables shares to be compared with views, which is the traditional method of assessing an ad’s success. Of course it is still useful to get a lot of views, but shares indicate a much more serious level of engagement; whether they love it or hate it, sharing means people care about an ad enough to talk about it. As well as generating more publicity, these people are – as a whole – more likely to buy from a business website associated with the ad.
To get an ad seen widely, it is advisable to post it in several different media and to share it across multiple social networks; however, most importantly of all, the ad needs to be tailored to what customers want.