When creating video content, it’s natural to want it to go viral to maximize your earned media.

It’s easy to get so focused on achieving viral success that the core objective for your video content is for it to go viral.

This is what dreams are made of after all.

The problem is that achieving the kind of viral success that we’ve all seen other videos accomplish, is that it isn’t as simple as creating killer video content, posting it on YouTube, and then watching your view count skyrocket.

There are many factors that affect a video’s likelihood of ‘going viral’, and many of which are either beyond your control, or take huge amounts of time or financial resources to achieve.

Many branded viral videos achieve that status by being supported by a sizable seeding campaign. When a video is produced, companies will invest huge dollars in paid media to drive views of their YouTube content, pay to have high-profile sites and blogs host the content, and will put PR initiatives in place to raise the profile of their content to garner more views.

This type of seeding program can cost huge dollars. Consider this, I recently ran a YouTube TrueView campaign and achieved a cost per view (CPV) of roughly 5 cents.

Pretty good right?

We’ll, it is. But if you wanted to achieve 1 million views, you’d need to invest $50,000 in paid media to hit this milestone.

What about seeding video content amongst your own community, you might be thinking?

Good thought, but again, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Let’s consider the success that some large brands have had in recent history. Evian and their latest ‘viral hit’ Baby&Me is bearing down on hitting 50,000,000 views on YouTube. 50 MILLION!

Now, take a look on their Facebook Timeline at the number of actions their cross-promotional updates have achieved. Just a ballpark guess, maybe 4,000-5,000 actions. Maybe. Pretty awesome, but this surely can’t account for the 50 million views the video has achieved.

So, you’ve got to think that there are some serious dollars being invested to seed this content or drive views via paid media.

How about Red Bull and their viral success?

Well, Red Bull has a massive social media community; right around 38,000,000 fans on Facebook, and a bit over 1,000,000 followers on Twitter.

With a community of this size, and with the incredible volume of content Red Bull produces, they do have a greater chance of organically seeding content and having it go viral.

But, how did they acquire all of these fans and followers? I can tell you that many organizations pay big dollars on Facebook ad buys to acquire fans. Typically, a cost of $1-2 per fan acquisition is thought to be average when doing so through advertising. So, even at $1 per fan, many large communities have probably invested big dollars to acquire these staggering numbers of fans.

We’ve also got to factor in the cost of sustaining a publication calendar as robust as Red Bull’s. They have an in-house media production division, pay large sums of money to sponsor the world’s top extreme athletes, sponsor many high-profile competitions and events, and more. They’ve invested so heavily in these areas, that they’ve achieved near-ubiquity in extreme sports. All of these things that contribute to Red Bull’s ability to regularly achieve viral success cost huge sums of money.


The purpose of this article isn’t to discourage you from dreaming big and creating amazing video content, but rather to help you focus your attention and effort on what is truly important.

When producing video content, make sure you’re adding huge value to your existing audience. They’ll love you for it and it will help you to convert consumers to loyalists, and loyalists to ambassadors.

If your aim is to grow your audience and acquire new consumers, then consider a seeding program for your content. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars to achieve great results. Be smart with the advertising dollars you have, invest time and energy to understand who your target audience should be, and you’ll see new people joining your communities in no time.

What measures do you use to gauge the success of your video content?

Have any of your videos gone ‘viral’? If so, how did you accomplish that?

It would be great to chat with you more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

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  1. […] Matthew When creating video content, it’s natural to want it to go viral to maximize your earned media. […]

  2. […] When creating video content, it’s natural to want it to go viral to maximize your earned media.It’s easy to get so focused on achieving viral success that the core objective for your video content …  […]

  3. […] previously written in more detail about how some of these things can affect a video’s likelihood of going ‘viral’, so I’ll […]


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