The world of viral video is full of turns and surprises. This year alone we saw an Old Spice Super Bowl commercial turn into the most successful online video campaign of all time; we saw a YouTube remix, the ‘Bed Intruder Song’, hit the Billboard Hot 100; and we saw countless unknown talents turn into overnight celebrities thanks to YouTube. What does 2011 hold in store for the world of viral video? No one can say for sure, but I thought it would be fun to jot down a few of my own predictions.
We’ll See A Huge Boost In Video Sharing.
This week I was checking out the YouTube Trends list of the most-shared videos of 2010 and I noticed an interesting trend – all of the top 10 most-shared videos of the year, with the exception of the Double Rainbow video, were uploaded during the second half of the year, and even though the Double Rainbow video was uploaded in January it didn’t start going viral until July.
Now, there are two possible explanations for this trend. Either there was not a single video uploaded to YouTube in the first half of the year that was worth sharing or people are sharing videos a lot more than they were at the beginning of the year. I’m going with the latter choice, especially considering that more than half of the most-shared videos of the year were uploaded within the last three months – three in September and three in November. Video sharers are unstoppable!
Sufficed to say, I take this as a sign that there will be a major increase in video sharing in 2011. People will be sharing on Twitter, Facebook and other social sharing services like crazy, which means more viral hits and bigger view counts all around.
Mobile Video Will Explode.
I think that one of the major factors in the boost in video sharing towards the end of this year has been mobile video. More and more people are trading in their old crappy cell phones for iPhones, Androids and other smart phones and they are now able to watch and share videos from wherever they are – on the bus, at lunch, or even at a Sumo wrestling championship (Okay, not sure where that one came from).
In any case, you get the point. As more and more people upgrade to smart phones, mobile video will explode. We’ve already seen a trend towards HTML5 this year, which signifies the mobile video boom, and advertisers are likely to jump on this new cash cow as well.
Companies Will Become Even More Obsessed With Going Viral.
Piggybacking off of the success of huge branded campaigns that we saw in 2010 (like the Old Spice ‘Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign), I’ve got a feeling we are going to see a lot more companies and brands becoming obsessed with going viral.
Everyone will want to be the next Old Spice and come out with something truly original and unique that everyone will be talking about. The issue? An idea like Old Spice has is pretty rare and I’ve got a feeling we are going to see a lot of companies and brands disappointed, wondering why the idea they thought would go viral only got a minimal amount of attention.
A word to the wise folks: While it may be tempting to dream of going viral, try not to focus on it in 2011. Instead of aiming for viral, aim for professional looking, interesting and informative content. If you achieve those goals you’ll get the views you are looking for.
Old Spice Knockoffs Will Continue…Unfortunately.
Speaking of piggybacking off the success of Old Spice, we saw a number of brands try to recreate the success of ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign by flat out copying it. At first the Old Spice parodies were funny, then they just became embarrassing and now, when I see an Old Spice parody I kinda just want to punch the person who came up with it in the face. Luckily I’m not a violent person.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the Old Spice copycat campaigns are going to stop anytime soon, as much as I’d like them too. Hopefully I’m wrong in this prediction, and please help me be wrong by refraining from sticking anyone from your company in a towel in front of a shower and having them talk about how good they smell and how they’re on a horse, or a boat or anything for that matter. Thank you in advance.
More Brands Will Turn To YouTubers For Promotions.
Another trend I think we’ll see in viral advertising in 2011 is brands turning to successful YouTubers for promotion. This is a much better way, in my opinion, to piggyback off of someone else’s success than by making your own Old Spice parody.
Over the last few years a number of big brands have turned to YouTube stars to promote their products. What’s great about this is that these big names in YouTube already have big followings and consistently get millions of views on their videos. Buying into their online brand and having them spread the word about your product to their viewers can be much more effective than trying to go about it on your own, if you’ve got the money. Therefore, I think we will see a lot more big brands being touted by YouTube partners in the coming year.
More Hit Singles Will Come Out Of YouTube.
This year has been a huge year for remixes on YouTube, thanks to the Gregory Brothers who put out a number of huge hits this year including the Double Rainbow Song, Bed Intruder Song and I’m Not A Witch. The world was shocked when the Bed Intruder Song made the Billboard Hot 100 back in August, but I’ve got a feeling that in 2011 the success of YouTube user-made songs won’t be so surprising anymore.
Following the Gregory Brothers’ success, they have continued to songify viral video stars and politicians on a regular basis, and they’ve inspired a whole bunch of other DJs and musicians to do the same. I’ve got a feeling that in 2011 we’re going to see a lot more hit songs come out of YouTube and I will probably get each and every one of them stuck in my head for weeks on end.
Off-Year Elections Will Get More Coverage Than Ever.
Next November, gubernatorial races will be going down in three states, stage legislative elections will be going down in four states, judicial elections in three states and mayoral races in a few cities across the United States. Usually, these types of elections slink by without a peep being heard if one of them isn’t being held in your state or city.
In 2011 I’ve got a feeling we are going to hear more about the off-year election coverage than we ever have before. Just check out our Top 25 Moments in YouTube Politics 2010. This year, politics saw more video views on YouTube and the rest of the web than ever before. Politicians that nobody would have even heard of or paid attention to before achieved overnight fame for ridiculous ad campaigns. Politicians that nobody ever noticed in the past became household names with millions of YouTube views, like Basil Marceaux. I think we can look forward to some more weird gubernatorial campaigns, legislative campaign viral ads, and bizarre candidates come next November and I can’t wait!
What do you think 2011 has in store for the world of viral video? Be sure to let us know in the comments!