This past month, the Kony 2012 video hit the social media network by storm, reaching millions of users in just a few days. The main objective of this campaign was to raise awareness by creating a viral effect. The Invisible Children organization not only accomplished this goal in just a few days, but the video also became the most viral in history.
In only 6 days Kony 2012 received 100 million views; exceeding the record imposed by the British singer Susan Boyle who reached the same number of views in 9 days. Visible Measures reported that other videos like “Friday” by Rebecca Black took 45 days to reach the same number of views and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video took 56 days.
So, what does it take to produce a viral video that is viewed and shared by millions of users across social networks? What do all these viral videos have in common? The answer: Unexpectedness, the key to engage people.
At the end of 2011, Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, presented his idea about why videos go viral during a TEDYouth event. Although the video of his presentation has not yet become viral, he points out that tastemakers, participating communities and complete unexpectedness are the three main characteristics of a new kind of media where anyone has access and the audience defines the popularity.
Watch “Why Videos Go Viral” by Kevin Allocca.