Travel videos, going viral and getting past the skip moment

What do astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield and actor Ryan Gosling have in common? They both feature in videos that went viral this year, albeit in different ways.

But why or perhaps more importantly how did it happen?

Some clever folk, gathered at World Travel Market last week, emphasized the importance of travel videos as a marketing channel – no surprises there.

Travel companies would love to be responsible for a clip that went viral within a few days, let alone a few hours as with the Hadfield ‘Space Oddity’ film – were it that simple.

But, there are some things to bear in mind when creating video that might help in the quest for viral – perhaps top of the list should be that it’s not something you can create, it’s something that happens.

Francesco D’Orazio, chief innovation officer at social intelligence firm Face provided some fascinating images on how it happens.

During a Travel Perspective session at WTM and using the Hadfield and Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal examples, he showed how each video (or series of Vine clips in the Gosling case) spread on Twitter.

The clips, well worth a few seconds of your time, show the Face Pulsar technology in action.

The Hadfield example is what D’Orazio describes as the burst model, it’s ‘high velocity’ or viral within a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, the Gosling Vines, which were produced for mobile, are more of a rise model – a few people discover them it, then a few share and it grows. Worth noting that it was around clip eight that the series began to go viral.

D’Orazio says:

“It was launched by someone (Ryan McHenry) who does not necessarily have a big audience. It started really small and the gatekeepers started to retweet which activated different communities within an audience.

“Things go viral in many different ways, there is no single way. When you’re trying to get something to go viral you need to understand the audience and how to activate the communities.”

What can travel companies learn from the above?

An emotional element is a key trigger, could be humour, inspiration or surprise, but without that it won’t go viral.

And, says D’Orazio once it has had that initial impact on someone, there is a validation phase which is where the community activation side comes in.

“Does it match my audience, what about topicality, is it a subject my following will find relevant?

“I always advise working out who you want to reach, what your audience is made of, their structure. There’s no way of knowing whether it will burst or rise, it depends who gets their hands on the video first.”

It’s also interesting to see the channels/devices used to view the clips with Gosling overwhelmingly mobile users while Hadfield was just over a third mobile.

And, D’Orazio draws on insight from Unruly Media showing mobile three times more effective in terms of click-throughs to the websites of the people responsible for that video.

And, some final take-aways:

  • According to D’Orazio, Friday is the best day to push out your video although Wed and Thurs are also good for viral spread.
  • Matt Carroll, creative boss at Media Ark says setting out to create viral is ‘dangerous’, it’s more about knowing who you’re talking to and having some aims with the film.
  • It’s more about creating a conversation and getting the brand message across in a way that’s ‘authentic, meaningful and relevant’, he adds.
  • It’s not as expensive as people think – YouTube TrueView currently cost between 3p and 10p according to Sarah McDonald, Google head of travel.

Some further reading here from Face on the Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake virals.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda is Managing Editor for tnooz. For the past decade, she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine. In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management, and research companies. Prior to her freelance career, she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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