New research examines what drives viral ads to popularity. A team of experts from the University of Houston, University of Southern California and Uber Technologies Inc. have revealed that the secret for popularity lies in connecting with the audience’s emotions. Moreover, the team emphasizes that the ad should be of a moderate length, about 1.0 to 1.5 minutes long; the creators should use authentic characters and finally the brand placement should come only at the end of the video.
The new research study will be published in the July issue of Journal of Marketing; the research paper will be titled ‘The Critical Role of Information, Emotion, and Brand Prominence’. The paper discusses the importance of captivating plots, surprise endings, original characters which features babies and animals, who are more likely to arouse strong emotions among the audience than celebrities.
The team based their results on five hypotheses regarding what drives video sharing of ads across social media. Using two independent field studies, the experts analyzed 11 measures of emotions and over 60 characteristics of ads. According to the study, 109 brands were popular among top 100 advertisers in 2012.
Some of the key highlights of the research suggest, that ads that evoked positive emotions among the audience had better chances of sharing response on Youtube. Such emotions include, warmth, amusement, excitement etc. It was found that only 7% of Youtube ads adhered to this fact. Moreover, ads that were designed around interesting plots, like drama and surprise endings also induced sharing, yet only 11% of ads highlighted the concept of strong drama. Characters also played a crucial role to evoke emotions; babies and animals played key characters in this, however only 3% used babies and animals, while 26% ads endorsed brands though celebrities.
Moreover, brand placing within the ad also induced ad popularity. Early, lengthy or intermittent placement resulted in less video sharing. According to the study, surprisingly only 30% of ads used late placing of brands. It was observed that ads between 1.2 to 1.7 minutes had greater chances of sharing. Furthermore, if the ad had a risky purchase context, then it had a negative effect on sharing. Finally, emotional ads are shared the most on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google +, whereas informational ads were shared on LinkedIn.
“Our findings provide marketing and media managers, advertisers, and copywriters with specific theory-based insights into how to design ads to drive virality. While the old mantra touted exposure, exposure, exposure for brand names, we find that minimal brand exposure, discreet information, and strong emotion are key drivers of virality,” says Gerard J. Tellis, one of the lead authors of the paper.
YouTube, a media channel has millions of users that create and share videos free of charge. It is because of this fact that the media channel has become an important platform for advertisers. It is a low-cost forum for sharing ads that provide wide viewership if the video gains popularity.