April 21, 2013

Why Viral Videos Are No Longer an Accident

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Friday at Saint Mike's it was 75 degrees and while it's only about 40 out today, it's nice to finally have some bright, sunny, (somewhat) warm days.

Picture of Jenna Marbles from the NYT Article

So I read a New York Times article the other day about Jenna Marbles, a YouTube personality who's gotten very popular with teenage/college girls. I'm not a huge fan because I think some of her material is a little offensive, but she can be funny and I know a lot of girls love her.

The article was interesting because it talked a lot about her "video formula." In most of her videos Jenna Marbles talks directly to the camera about various  funny topics to which girls can relate. Although she sometimes changes it up by mocking celebrities or guest-starring her (now) ex-boyfriend, the format for all Jenna Marbles videos are pretty much the same.

The New York Times article suggested that, because many YouTube personalities are getting famous by using this simple video formula (a.k.a. variations on one person talking about funny things to the camera) viral videos are actually planned and are no longer accidental. This is actually a popular belief and YouTube even opened a new production facility where popular YouTube people can film videos for free. While they have some evidence (in the form of popular YouTube videos) to back this claim up, I don't think that statement entirely true. Take, for example, some of my favorite YouTube personalities and popular viral videos:

Julian Smith:
I don't know a lot of his videos, but I found this a while ago and found it pretty random / funny. It's gotten over 16 million views and definitely doesn't use the same video formula as Jenna Marbles.

Daily Grace:
Grace has a video series similar to Jenna Marbles, except she uploads more videos throughout the week. I think she's pretty funny and awkward. She has over 1 million subscribers.

Autotune the News:
This video if from the guys that autotune the news. They've put out a few popular videos but, although they all follow the same format of taking a popular news clip and turning it into a song, not all their videos have a lot of views.

This video is Paint's most popular video with over 13 million views. I don't love all his videos but there's no denying that he's talented. I certainly wouldn't have expected this video to go viral.

This kid is so talented and I absolutely love his cover of the LMFAO song. Again, wouldn't expect this video to go viral, and yet it's gotten over 17 million views.

So this is what I think about the creation of viral videos: they're usually accidents!

To be fair, I'm sure that the people making viral videos want them to go viral. However, all these videos have different formats and are of different genres (comedy, skits, music). I think that, for popular YouTube personalities, it's accidental that their first video goes viral. After that, they tend to follow the same formula and their other videos may go viral too. I think that planned viral videos are an interesting idea because, if there is a particular video formula that lends itself to viral videos, marketers will definitely pick up on that to create viral ads.

I'm off to do some homework and prepare for a busy week. My brother comes on Thursday for Macklemore and P-Day so I'm very excited! If you have any questions ask me on my Ask.fm!

1 comment:

  1. As always, another informative and interesting post!!! thanks keep it up..!!!