New Study: If You Want Content To Go Viral, Punch People Right In Their Emotions


From the moment David first went to the dentist and “Star Wars” kid became a web Jedi, brand advertisers have been trying to tap into the science of “viral” content. Conversations about web video enter cringe-worthy territory typically when someone claims to have “the recipe for viral content.” Sure, some brands have been successful when trying synthesize viral ad campaigns — take Old Spice for example — but most of the time, the result of factory-made viral content makes one yearn for a brick to the head.

Unruly Media, however, believes that sharable content can be “predicted and repeated” according to a white paper released by the agency. According to the study titled “The Science of Sharing,” high intensity, positive content is “three times more likely to be shared than videos that elicit low intensity, negative emotions.” In other words, make people psyched and they’ll share more content.

Unruly broke down several emotional responses that elicit sharing in what they are calling a ShareRank Score Card. Among the emotional triggers listed by Unruly are happiness, warmth, pride and nostalgia, among others. Examining ads from last year’s Super Bowl, Unruly found that the most shared commercials were ones that triggered high levels of warmth and happiness.

Among the highest ranked social ads from the Super Bowl was Budweiser’s Brotherhood ad spot, which, upon second viewing, is like getting a fistful of feelings right in the ol’ heart. The white paper claims that Brotherhood performed so well socially simply because it shifted away from humor and instead tackled sweet, sweet emotion.

In conclusion, according to Unruly, “water cooler” content, meaning the commercials you and Joe Six-Pack talk about between sales calls, is all about triggering a strong, positive emotional response. The bottom line for advertisers is this: jam pack commercials with as many high intensity emotions as possible.

Here’s one on the house: A puppy skydives from a plane piloted by the host of Nickelodeon’s “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” In the background, a dubstep remix of Lou Bega’s “Mambo #5” plays. The puppy lands in a pool full of sexy ladies. Tom Cruise seated on a poolside chair lifts his “Top Gun”-era aviators and says: “No soup for you.” Insert your band’s name, and boom, John Blue-Collar can’t stop sharing it on Facebook. You’re welcome.



More Viral Recipes and Water Cooler Sorcery:

Why the Video Of A Beheaded Soccer Referee Belongs On the Internet [And Other Gross Content Too]

Musician’s Viral YouTube Video Captures The Heartache Of Unrequited Love Between A Gay Man and His Straight Male Friend

Jarek 1:20 Innovates the ‘Magic Phone Number Kissing Trick’ With Stuart Edge [INTERVIEW]

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