Meet First Media, one of the leaders in the social media space as a viral video creator, and one of the top 20 Facebook publishers in the world. In order to create viral videos, it is critical to follow a few specific steps and tools, which founders Sharon Rechter and Guy Oranim have revealed with us. By diligently implementing these guidelines, along with the help of their proprietary predictive algorithm, First Media has grown their social media following from 100,000 to 35,000,000, all in little over one year. And their total views have increased from a few thousand to over 1.5 billion per month (that's 1,500,000,000 monthly views, folks).
Here is how they did it, and how you can, too.
Viral Tip #1: Know Your Core Demographic
On understanding your demographic, Guy Oranim shared,
"Understanding who your viewers are is the key to success. When we at First Media aim to create viral content, we first look at who will be viewing and sharing the videos, what we know about them and what makes them tick. For example, our studies show that the core of Blossom viewers are millennial women, who are interested in crafting and DIY projects. Knowing these facts helps direct us in our research to create new content - specifically for those viewers."
Video: Shrink Charms
- Over 150 million views
- Over 9.6 million engagements
Viral Tip #2: Two Critical Questions
Oranim also shed some light on the two critical questions you must ask yourself when attempting to create viral videos. If you don't have great answers, you shouldn't post them.
Question 1: Why would someone stop scrolling down their Facebook page to watch a particular video? (aka "The Three Second Rule")
"When you are endlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, what is it that makes you stop to watch a video? Our Blossom page is ranked #1 in the world in terms of views per video post due to fanatical persistence on attention grabbing elements within the first second that makes the Facebook viewer stop and start watching our videos. In order to count as a "video view" in the Facebook platform, a viewer needs to watch a video for at least three seconds, so these are the most crucial moments of creating a viral video." - Guy Oranim
- Over 166 million views
- Over 11 million engagements
Question 2: Why would someone share this?
A crucial factor that makes a video 'viral' is how many shares it receives. In order to make your video go viral, you must understand what will be the driving force that will make viewers want to pass it on. For example, Is this video helpful to others? Will it make them laugh or be moved? Is it making the sharer look smart, innovative or tech savvy?
"In most viral videos, it is necessary to have a 'WOW' factor to make the 'share miracle' happen. An aspect of the video should be surprising enough to be considered share worthy by the viewer. At First Media, we are very sensitive to having a 'surprise factor' in every video and the result of this is that we have the highest share rate in the industry for our videos (>2%)." - Guy Oranim
- 3 million shares
- 117 million video views in less than a week
Viral Tip #3: Keeping Your Audience Engaged
On audience engagement, Rechter shared,
"There are many important video elements to consider to keep your viewer engaged - from first impressions, to exciting scene changes, camera angles, as well as the music that enhances the entire viewing experience. The common denominator of all these elements is that they help create 'tension' and eagerness to see what is going to come next, which leads to better retention. These are just a few of the elements involved in curating a viral video, and we implement these and more to ensure that our audience remains the most engaged on Facebook."
- Over 50% of viewers watched for more than 1 minute
- 39% of the viewers watched the entire video
Viral Tip #4: Branded Content is NOT a Commercial
On the realities of branded content, Rechter says,
"As the entertainment industry continues to change, snackable content, as well as influencer marketing has introduced native content in order to integrate a brand seamlessly, without it seeming like a commercial. The essence behind this is that the millennial audience is very savvy and bright, and they know when they are being 'sold' something."
"The best way to keep your audience engaged and excited, while still showcasing a brand is to subtly place branding, through product placement or color scheme choice, to keep the brand top of mind long after the video is over. There is an 'imaginative balance' between content value vs. branding value for every post and the content value should ALWAYS be greater, in order to get virality for your video."
- Bed Bath & Beyond received 37 million total views for their first two branded videos, within a month, making them two of the top 3 best performing branded videos on Facebook in July.
Tip #5: Analyze & Optimize
On post analysis and optimization, Rechter says,
"It is crucial to diligently analyze each video that you've posted in order to understand its performance, and how to optimize for the next. Look at the reach, views, shares, retention (and their ratios compared with your other videos and your competitors) to understand what worked and what did not. At First Media, we do it for every video posted and discuss together the results in order to come with actionable insights."
Epic & Historic Results:
This is the most viral video in Facebook history - both in terms of views and in terms of shares, and is a great example of implementing successfully our know-how to create optimal performance.
- Over 370 million views
- Over 11.8 million shares
Well. The results speak for themselves, folks. Get out there and start creating.