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The essential component of viral videos

Hundreds of hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. As marketers, we often wonder why only a small percentage of these downloads are viral. We regret why this never seems to be one of ours.

There is an easy answer: most videos on YouTube are nothing special!

So how to make your video less boring so that people want to watch it, share it with their friends and, even better (for search engine optimization), link to the producer's website ?

In short, make it remarkable – "worth noting", to use Seth Godin's definition.

If there is nothing to notice, then the video is not going anywhere. No sharing, no favorites, no favorites, no links, and no "watch time", which is a key measure for success, according to YouTube.

The shortest way to remarkableness is a hook. Yet, instead, most viral marketers are focusing on gadgets. It's not the gimmicky videos that become viral. These are the ones with a powerful hook. Gadgets are just icing on the cake, and are usually not even necessary.

Hook against Gimmick

A hook is distinct from a gadget, although many confuse the two.

A hook is an idea, an argument or a story that will create a reaction in the audience – for example, a love story between a man and a robot that causes people to think about what it means to be human. It's an angle.

It's also the way you land on television or persuade a newspaper to cover your business. Without a hook, the producer and the journalist are probably not interested in your land.

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There are different types of hooks: a hook worthy of interest, a utility hook, a controversial hook, a humorous hook and an emotional hook, to name a few. A hook catches the attention of potential viewers. It attracts them. It gives them something to say. And their spread is in their own interest.

Something is something that attracts attention by novelty. But it is not particularly powerful or useful. Some of the most overused gadgets for viral video vacuums are special effects – such as stop motion photography, time-lapse, slow motion, and drone photography. These can add excitement to a video already remarkable, but rarely a gadget alone makes a viral video. That does not mean that it never happens. Gimmick videos sometimes become viral, but usually the gadget must be extreme or bizarre for this to happen, or include other elements of remarkableness that contribute to its virality.

To illustrate, compare two viral video campaigns: one that relies on a hook, "10 hours of walking in New York as a woman", and which relies on a gadget, "Towers collapse in slow motion ". Both are based on time distortion: condensed hours in minutes. But only one takes the viewer on a powerful emotional journey.

10 hours of walking in New York as a woman & # 39;

"10 hours of walking in New York as a woman" shows a woman being harassed and catapulted for just walking on the street. This is unfortunately a common experience. The appeal of this video, for women, is clear. This is definitely an emotional problem. But the video also gives women a powerful reason to share it: it's proof that this type of behavior is outrageously routine. With video, women can show what they live each day.

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Men might also have a strong reaction to the video that motivates sharing. They may be against this type of behavior, or they may have the impression that the video is fake representing men, and react defensively.

Despite this, the powerful premise sparked a massive debate in the mainstream media, inspiring many opinion pieces, and dozens of copy and parody videos. At the time of writing these lines, the original video received more than 45 million views – for something that was done in a few days, probably for a few hundred dollars.

The concept itself does not do all the work, of course. The edition improves the premise: because of the fast cuts, it only takes a few seconds to get the point. Then, once the basic premise is established, variations are introduced to keep viewers on the lookout, like a man who walks silently beside the subject for several minutes.

For most viewers, the result is shocking and disturbing.

"The towers collapse in slow motion"

To attract attention, "The slow-motion towers" is based on a single gadget: idle. He received more than 8 million views at the time of writing. Although the gadget of this video is interesting, we also see a number of other elements involved.

First and foremost, a charismatic host provides useful information about slow motion photography with humor. Second, the video features a quick edit to keep viewers engaged, with a weird music that adds an emotional element. Third, what has exploded is surprising and remarkable: the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant.

"Towers Collapsing" embellishes the gimmick in slow motion with a hook that hypnotizes the viewer.

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The essential component

When used effectively, gimmicks and hooks can increase the chances of your video becoming viral. However, it is important to distinguish between the two and their relative impact.

The hook is the main actor. The gimmick only plays a supporting role.

Alone, it is unlikely that a trick will produce a viral shot, but when combined with a powerful hook, it can create magic.

So always start with the hook. This is the essential element of viral videos. Without that, your video will probably languish forever.