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Unruly is a tech platform that gets your brand tracked, watched and shared
Sharing is fascinating, it is the true measure of engagement and is the holy grail for content marketers. You can buy a view, you cannot buy a share. So how do you get them? I am going to talk through 7 findings from this wonderful new book from Dr KNF of Ehrenberg Bass…an institute part funded by many of the brands that are represented in this room today. It’s an important work because it brings hard evidence to the gut feeling that so many of us have when it comes to making great content. It’s not big brand names or big celebrities that matter, what matters is the intensity of emotional connection and the nature of emotional content that the video provokes
So finding #1 will come as no surprise!
We measure emotional response using a number of techniques – sweat induction, facial recognition, self-reported viewer responses - but all methodologies have shown the same results: extreme emotional response is necessary to provoke a share. A physiological response is what you’re looking for here – tears, gasps, goose bumps, bursts of laughter, hairs standing up on the back of your neck. Funny is not enough, only hilarious will do. High emotional arousal is the most significant element in the science of sharing. So are some emotions more effective than others?
#2 gives the answer to this: Be Positive
This one feels counterintive to those of us who believe that “bad news travels fast” but the research shows that Videos which provoke a strong positive response are 30% more likely to be shared than those which provoke strong negative emotions.There’s an exception to this rule, which is “Anger”. Videos that evoke strong feelings of anger are very highly shared, more than any other of the Negative emotions.
We all know that the Internet is Made of Cats but Karen found that the specific creative devices contained in a video – cats, babies, celebrities, stunts, pratfalls, - didn’t materially affect the shareability of a video.
In one of her studies, Karen subcoded the videos by 14 types of creative device and found that most creative devices can be successful and non-successful (in terms of shares) and can equally incite high and low arousal. So for every famous cat or dancing baby there are hundreds of cats and babies that nobody’s watching or sharing. Personal triumph is an exception – videos that show the protagonists overcoming the odds, beating their personal demons, shared significantly more than all the other devices even when it it is Low Arousal.Yet interestingly it is rarely used. Only 3% of the 800 videos coded for creative made use of the personal triumph device.
Does too much branding within a video put people off sharing? Many people think the answer to this is yes – and there are plenty of so-called viral ads that are executed “guerilla style”, with little or no branding. In fact, when we subcoded the videos in the dataset by objective measures of brand execution, we found that on average it takes a brand 30 seconds to reveal itself in the video. You’d be right to question the value of a video hit if no one knows it’s your brand that made it!YET we found absolutely NO evidence to support that branding hampers sharing. There was no statistical relationship between sharing and branding; on the contrary, the “High Arousal Positive” videos, the type of video displayed the most, have the highest level of branding. We’re collaborating on a similar study at Harvard Business School that hasn’t been publicly released yet; they will be announcing similar findings next year. Mentions of the brand effect viewer drop off, but don’t affect shareability or viral spread.We’d argue that its not the level of branding that matters, it’s the way in which the brand is present. In the Coke Happiness ads, the Coke vending machine is at the heart of the video, it’s the main character of the video and that drives a “valuable virality” rather than pouring a marketing budget down the sink.
Karen’s research covered UGC and brand content and she found that paid distribution played a really significant role in increasing the chance and the level of social spread or earned views.
It doesn’t matter how shareable a video is – a video that is seen by few cannot be shared by many. Social success happens faster than ever before – the viral peak for branded videos is the second day after launch and ¼ of all views are delivered in the first three days. In this regard, Karen’s findings backed up Duncan Watt’s “big Seed” approach to launching online video, as she too found that distribution was key to maximising social spread, kick-starting a viral cascade and slowing viral burn out.
Paid media lined up early!!!
Eliciting a strong, positive emotional reaction doesn’t just give a campaign additional reach through earned media, The Science of Sharing found that eliciting strong positive emotions willalso help your audience remember you – crucial when it comes to actually making a purchase at point of sale.And the positive emotion most likely to cut through the clutter and be remembered? Well, at the individual emotion level, Exhilaration is the most successful, with Hilarity in secondplace. 65% of all “exhilarating” videos tested were recalled, with 51% of hilarious videos being recalled.We’ve seen this ourselves with campaigns for GoPro – the action camera brand that creates phenomeonally exciting, exhilarating videos that enjoy triple digit uplift in brand favourability andpurchase intent.
And the final finding suggests that owned media alone isn’t enough to see results on the bottom line.Brands that simply post videos on their social profiles are already preaching to the converted.
The chart on the left shows the profile of buyer groups for a well known chocolate brand – more than 80% are non-buyers or light buyers and to move the needle on sales, these consumers people present a massive opportunity; if you can get them to buy an extra chocolate bar each week that’s worth a lot more than getting this small group of heavy chocolate eaters to swallow another bar. But look at the chart on the right and you’ll see that the profile of brand fans skews heavily in the opposite direction – towards heavy buyers and dedicated fans, you’re preaching to the converted here, so while social platforms are unarguably a powerful loyalty platform, The Science of Sharing finds that they’re not the best place to reach potential light buyers who will actually move the needle on sales.
And Karen’s final finding – alluded to in a cliff hanger final chapter but not yet published in this book - is a bold one. It’s that that emotions drive sales and emotional video campaigns are more profitable than rational video campaigns. This research will confirm the findings of other studies that have used IPA data to correlate emotional intensity with higher levels of effectiveness, whether you measure effectiveness by sales, share or profit objectives.
Key MessagesWhat we have found using the algorithm is that the kind of video content that works in the UK or the US will not necessarily resonate as strongly among Brazilian audiences. For example, humor is a hugely important emotion in the UK and U.S., however, in Brazil it’s significantly less important, with viewers instead more likely to share a video that leaves them exhilarated.”These findings are backed up by Dr Karen Nelson-Field, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science, in her new book, ‘Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing’. Nelson-Field, who collaborated with Unruly on the Unruly ShareRank algorithm, said: “For brands to make contagious content they need to focus less on creative appeal and more on emotional appeal. Exhilaration is one particular emotion that the vast majority of advertisers tend to ignore. However, videos that evoke feelings of exhilaration tend to be shared more than any other high arousal positive emotion.”The US and UK are cousins and are closer than we sometimes might think – worth noting that Americans like to be awed and the Brits like to be surprised
Key messagesBrazilians seem keen to share content with anyone on their networks. Facebook is huge in Brazil with some 65 million users, which makes it the company's second largest market after the U.S. by number of users (Source: Socialbakers). This maps onto their strong desire to share video content Americans and Brits seem less keen to share with all their contacts and more keen to zone in on family members and select friends
So finding #1 will come as no surprise!
So how will we be feeling next year? What will we be sharing next year? Which emotional triggers will emotionally intelligent brands be provoking?My money’s on Exhilaration.Tentpole sporting events go hand in hand with excitement, anticipation and exhilaration. They lend themselves to immersive, of-the-moment videos. Nike’s Write the Future did this well in the run up to the last world cup. Best Job by P&G, which was the most-shared ad of last year’s Olympic Games scored well for exhilaration.And Brazil is the perfect launch pad for a viral cascade that could rickashe round the world – video sharing rates in Brazil are nearly 4 times the global average and this is the country that the Wall Street Journal dubbed the Social Media Capital of the Universe. We’ll be tracking the most shared ads for the competition and it will be intriguing to see how brands apply the human touch to the biggest global party of the year..
#2 Videos which provoke a
strong positive response are 30% more likely to be shared than those which provoke strong negative emotions. Negative High Arousal Disgust Sadness Shock Anger Low Arousal Discomfort Boredom Irritation Frustration High Arousal Hilarity Inspiration Astonishment Exhilaration Positive Low Arousal Amusement Calmness Surprise Happiness
#7 Quality reach is key.
To build market share, reach light & medium buyers outside of your owned channels FIGURE 1 - Chocolate Brand 2011 – Panel Data FIGURE 2 - The same Chocolate Brand - Fans A brand’s light buyers are the most important to growth in sales”