7 Common Myths About Viral Video Marketing

7 Common Myths About Viral Video Marketing

Creating a viral video may be a priority among the marketing strategies of many brands. However, taking a keen look at the YouTube videos that have gone viral, it is rather obvious that it takes a complex blend of various factors, ranging from creativity, some money, ingenuity and even luck, to some extent. Each successful video combines these factors and more in a unique way. Unfortunately, the success of these videos has resulted in a number of myths that need to be debunked. Let us delve into 7 common myths that bedevil the creation of any viral video on YouTube:

1. Animals and Babies make a YouTube video go viral

At face value, the above statement seems to be true. Just look at a video like 'Evian, Baby & Me'. However, an in-depth analysis by a professional, Dr. Karen Nelson-Field shows otherwise. She analyzed about 1,000 videos in different categories for over 2 years. She found that animals, babies and even dancing, work no better than other creative devices. The reason why these videos seem to be generating more views and shares is because they tend to invoke intense emotions. Rather than use babies and animals, she advises marketers to use personal triumph. This is because personal triumph is more likely to result in more sharing.

2. Funny YouTube videos go viral

Many viral videos are characterized by humor. However, it does not translate to making each and every video in your marketing campaign funny. The bottom line is that your video needs to make an impression. A good example is a video by SOS Children’s Villages. It featured a boy sitting in the cold at a bus stop, with no warm clothing. It also featured the reactions that people had toward the boy. This video generated over 14 million views. You need to package your video in a way that your brand will be appealing to the audience. This does not mean that the only approach is via humor.

3. Viral grows organically

There is more to getting a YouTube video to go viral than ensuring that it is high quality. The video needs to be distributed widely. This happens via paid and earned channels, for instance influencers and social media.

4. Shorter videos are ideal

There are indeed very short concentration spans on the web. Instead of aiming at making short videos where you briskly skim through the message, you can make longer videos with engaging content. The most viral videos on YouTube are around 2 and a half minutes long. Longer videos will allow you to tell a story, engage with your viewers, and share information, as well as product features.

5. Viral means more views

While more views is an indicator of a good video, it does not mean that it is the only measure to a video’s success. A viral video is not only one that has many views, but also one that results in actions to show some form of engagement. For instance, do the viewers watch the entire video? Do they visit your website for more content? Do they watch related videos on your YouTube channel? If your video has a lot of views and a large percentage of your viewers engage with it, then you can say that it is viral.

6. Viral videos are akin to commercials

The main aim of viral videos on YouTube, unlike commercials, is not to sell. They aim at providing value and engagement. A 30 second commercial focuses on the products, highlighting its selling points. Viral content is not one way. It starts conversations with the audience.

7. Viral does not mean promotional

You should not promote your brand in your video. This is just a polite myth. While it is good to focus on engaging the audience via emotion or humor, the audience will appreciate the brand behind the creativity. How do you expect a brand-less video to market your product? If you are telling them the truth about your brand, then they will be keen enough to learn about the brand, and even connect with it.


As we have seen, the Youtube videos that have gone viral have raised so much speculation. This has resulted in the creation of myths about viral videos on YouTube. However, a keen look beyond phase value shows that ingenuity, transparency, accurate brand presentation, value, and creativity are the factors that combine in unique ways to result in viral videos.

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