May 5th 2016

Going Viral.

Posted by Will Shadbolt

There are many different measures of success, but in this day and age no one would argue that going viral is not one of them. Millions of views, online fame—who wouldn’t want that? Of course, scoring a viral hit is incredibly hard to do. This past month, there have been several videos that went viral, but perhaps none became as big as an Apple Music spot featuring Taylor Swift. 

In the ad, Swift reluctantly gets on a treadmill to do some dreaded cardio. In order to get in the zone, she goes to Apple Music, selects a “gymflow” category and then puts on ‘Jumpman’ by Drake and Future. She sings along as she starts running until…she trips and falls flat on her face. The final shot is of her slowly looking up from the ground, still trying to sing along, when the Apple logo appears. 

The ad debuted on April Fools day this year. So did plenty of others. Why did this one hit viral status? To try and understand, one agency analyzed the music ad to figure out what factors made it such a success.

By far the most important factors were how relatable it was and the humor. Everyone has had to push themselves into working out and used music to pump themselves up. More than would like to admit sing along. (It also helps that it is a popular song sung by two of the current hottest artists.) And the fall—who doesn’t like a bit of unexpected slapstick humor? Interestingly, the analysis does not think Swift’s star status alone helped out (although seeing such a famous person doing something so relatable probably did). 

Unsurprisingly, hilarity and surprise were the two top emotions while watching the video. Also, millennials reacted with much higher levels of happiness and inspiration than other generations. The analysis argues that although video views are significant, social media shares are the more important factor for going viral, and, as millennials make up the majority of those sharing videos and pictures on social media, they might just be the most important age group for those hoping for viral hits. 

The analysis ends with a chart listing the amount of each emotion the ad produces in comparison to the ones other tech videos and the average short elicit from American audiences. The result? The Taylor Swift spot registered a fair amount of happiness and amazement, the two emotions that come up regularly in the other categories listed, and was somewhat inspirational, though much less than in the average tech and US video. However, it did quite dismal in warmth, a big emotion in the typical short. Hilarity, however, was ranked as registering far higher than in the average video. How relatable your average video is was not listed.

The takeaway is that humor is an underused emotion—and that it, along with being relatable, might be the secret to making an ad go viral. Most shorts elicit feelings of happiness or amazement in viewers, so going with humor could a video to stand out from the rest. 

Whether you are trying to make a viral sensation or just starting your next ad campaign, Giovatto Advertising has you covered. We have our very own in-house production studio with broadcast cameras, green-screen capabilities and an amazing full video editing suite. We have the experience to create masterful videos, no matter if they are going on television or online or anything in between. Come down to Giovatto and get your next campaign started!

About the Author