Going viral: The shift from traditional to digital media marketing

Going viral: The shift from traditional to digital media marketing

Since the rise of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, businesses have shifted their marketing focus from traditional media (i.e. print and television) to digital media (i.e. websites, email, and social media). Digital media has provided brands with the ability to share video, graphics, photos, and audio and allows the digital minded consumer the ability to gather information in a way that is tailored to them.

Although digital media shares many of the same functions of traditional media, there are many differences that exist between the two in terms of the relationships between users and the information put out by brands.

Firstly, with traditional media, the content the audience is exposed to is mainly determined by editors who have full control over what their audience sees on a daily basis. On the other hand, social media gives users the ability to customise and filter news feeds whilst also interacting with people with similar interests.

Secondly, online consumers are moving from being more of a passive audience to active producers, contributing directly to the discussion and even posting content to their social media accounts. Social media users have the ability to actively participate in producing content by submitting news stories, posting videos, and submitting links.

Finally, social media has provided users a way to stay connected with each other even when they are not close in physical distance. Social media users also have the ability to share information they find interesting with their friends and followers and can contribute to online discussions about current events. Traditional media does not have this ability with news sharing being limited due to the ineffective distribution channels.


The rise of video in content marketing

Online video has become one of the most important marketing tools for businesses on social media, with Nielsen claiming 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future.

Online video enables the production, distribution, and use of forms of digital content that were previously more constrained by the limitations of hardware and connectivity. The distribution of online video is in most cases premised in large part on the development of the products and user base of platform companies like Facebook and Google (through the video-hosting site YouTube), and it offers a potentially lucrative source of advertising revenue in an otherwise challenging business environment. Facebook is also implementing new strategies to encourage their users to share personal stories through video content, in an effort to catch up with Snapchat for daily video views.

Marketers must understand how each social channel is optimising its platform to allow for more video content in users’ feeds, and how brands are using video content to engage their followers.


Emotions drive video to go viral

So, how do you create video that engages? Often, if your video goes viral, it’s a good indicator that your video has engaged people—and creating viral videos is a craft.

Research shows that there are six primary emotions that drive videos to go viral. The first and most important being surprise. This is any type of video where when you watch it you are taken back and evokes you to share it with your friends and followers.

However, the surprise emotion needs to be combined with one of the other five emotions: fear, sadness, joy, disgust, or anger. Creating this type of content is a lot easier said than done, and what a brand thinks will evoke a certain emotion does not necessarily mean it will go viral. With all this said, even if a marketer does manage to produce a video that is highly surprising when viewed there is still no guarantee it will go truly viral.

The goal is to stay true to your brand image and put out content that will continue to attract an audience that will continue to view your content.

You can read more about video marketing here.


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