Why You Shouldn't Aim For Online Virality

If we were to ask you what was viral two years ago, or even a year ago, would you remember? Unlike the first viral videos almost 10 years ago like Charlie Bit My Finger or David After Dentist, you probably don’t remember much between then and now.

Today there are tons of blogs that will tell you that virality is the gateway to your brand's success and getting it off the ground, but everything that goes up must come down. In a nutshell, here's why you should not focus on making virality a strategy for your brand.

Viral Content Is Here For a Good Time, Not A Long Time

Should brands look to achieve the same level of virality as a popular cat video? Prob not. Those cat videos aren’t trying to sell, convert, or gain customer loyalty. Brands should be thinking big picture and the lifespan of a viral video. Gen Z is said to have an 8-second attention span, which means it’s onward and onward.

Unless you have an efficient word-of-mouth organic strategy or a built-in strategy that is going to live beyond the virality, it’s not worth investing in production and energy in what will either fail to go viral or make you the flavor of the week.

Viral content becomes popular at the speed of light, is the talk of the town for one week, and then fizzles out of conversations. The investment made in content that aims for virality is also not promising. There have only been a handful of brand campaigns that went viral. Moreover, there's a good chance your campaign will not catch fire. So just a rule of thumb: if virality is your first goal when launching a campaign, you should head back to the drawing board.

"If virality is your first goal when launching a campaign, you should head back to the drawing board."

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The Internet Can Smell When You’re Trying Too Hard

Think again about the last viral video that sticks out in your memory. It probably wasn’t a branded video. Most likely it came from someone online who made content without actually intending to become viral.

When brands try to emulate that, the internet can be very unforgiving when pointing out a try-hard brand. Especially when a brand does not understand what viral trend they decide to engage in, things can definitely turn south. (Prime examples here and here.)

Don’t Have An Expiration Date: Be Relevant Always & Consistent

Now why exactly do you want to be viral? Popularity is one thing, but how long is that going to last and is it really going to convert into sales for you?

Focus on more evergreen efforts that ensure your work and campaign outlast a trend. You don’t want to create content that easily dips into internet obscurity.

"Authenticity and consistency are keys to a thriving brand. Don’t bet on temporary success."

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Ensure that your content is always stellar and relevant, and never tries too hard to be something it’s not. Authenticity and consistency are keys to a thriving brand. Don’t bet on temporary success.

 

Priscilla Castro

Director of Social Media at Create & Cultivate