It seems that every new area of digital marketing goes through a Wild West phase in the early years. The viral video world was no different. Once brands started to get excited about the idea of clocking up views and engagement on YouTube for free, a number of agencies sprung up offering ‘virals’ as if viral success was a foregone conclusion, when in reality their strategy amounted to putting a video on YouTube and emailing the link to their mates. However, the reality is that certain videos do get shared – particularly if they’re initially supported with paid media and seeding – so in theory there must be variables we can identify to predict how shareable a video is likely to be.
One company that has been working to transform that theory into a science has been Unruly, a social video ad platform. Unruly say they have created an algorithmic tool that allows advertisers to repeatedly predict the ‘shareability’ of their video content — even before a campaign is launched. Unruly’s ‘ShareRank‘ can calculate the amount of earned media their videos are likely to attract across the social web and how much paid investment will need to be deployed.
Unruly say their predictive tool provides insights into ‘the psychological, social and content triggers that affect the success of video content’, so advertisers can discover the word-of-mouth potential of their video before they spend on media. The algorithm has been developed by a team of statisticians at the Unruly Social Video Lab, who have used the data from Unruly’s Viral Video Chart, academic research and consumer data.
Unruly have been collaborating with Dr Karen Nelson-Field, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, on the key variables that drive video sharing. She said, “It’s been a lot of fun collaborating with Unruly on the science of sharing. Predicting a social video hit is no longer about luck. Videos that elicit high intensity, positive emotions are three times more likely to be shared than videos that elicit low intensity, negative emotions. It means CMOs can now confidently predict the effectiveness of their content marketing investment,” said Dr Nelson-Field.
Sarah Wood, Unruly COO and co-founder, said: “A wildly successful video ad is usually seen as a black swan, an outlier that’s unpredictable and unrepeatable. For leading brand marketers, discovering how to create and distribute highly shareable content, repeatedly and at scale, is at the top of their wish list. Unruly ShareRank does precisely this.”