Unruly / News / Advertisers Should Stop Trying To Be Funny If They Want Their Ads To Go Viral, Says New Report

Advertisers Should Stop Trying To Be Funny If They Want Their Ads To Go Viral, Says New Report

Brands should also launch video campaigns on a Wednesday to maximize sharing, suggests new “Science of Sharing” research paper.

If advertisers want their campaigns to go viral they need to stop trying to be funny, according to new research launched today by global video technology company Unruly.

The Science of Sharing white paper, which gives brands and agencies actionable insights on how they can maximize their online video campaigns, found the two most popular ads from this year’s Super Bowl attracted the most shares on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere because they did not try to make people laugh.

The report also found that Wednesday was the optimum day to release a new campaign across the social web based on average daily share rates.

The key findings of the report were:

  • Humor is very subjective and brands need to be extremely funny to impress consumers worn down by a glut of ads which try to be funny (and usually are not). The two most popular ads from this year’s Super Bowl attracted the most shares on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere because they evoked a different set of emotional triggers from the rest;
  • Wednesday is the best day to launch a campaign. This is based on two factors: 1. On average, half (48.3%) of the weekly video shares occur between Wednesday and Friday, with the peak of shares occurring on a Friday and the lowest point being the weekend. 2. A quarter of a video’s total shares on average occur in the first three days of launch;
  • Ads must also give viewers a strong reason to share – and ideally more than one emotional trigger – to generate earned shares and views. Ads that offered weak social motivations, even when paired with strong psychological responses from viewers, had very low share rates;
  • Year-on-year sharing of Super Bowl ads grew by 118% from 2012 to 2013 (Date range is from the Super Bowl broadcast + 2 months), with Super Bowl teasers and ads generating 7,739,917 shares in 2013, up from 3,546,560 shares in 2012.

“For brands looking to optimize their chances of viral success, the video really needs to reach a critical mass of viewers within the first 24 hours of its launch,” said Sarah Wood, co-founder and COO of Unruly.

“Creating shareable content is half the challenge; it’s equally important to get the ad seen by the right audiences, where consumers are discovering and sharing video content in their native environments. With social video, brands can win fast and lose fast, so it’s important to optimize the launch date for ‘shareability’ and get content trending quickly across the right distribution channels,” continued Wood.

The report analyzed 12 commercials from Super Bowl XLVII, which aired on February 3, 2013, to uncover why some ads performed well online while others did not. The ads involved in the study were from the automotive, CPG/FMCG, entertainment and technology sectors.

The most shared ads from Super Bowl XLVII evoked intense emotional responses, including warmth, happiness, awe and pride. These ads also offered strong reasons for people to share. These include “reaction seeking” and the desire for others to feel the same way about the ad’s content.

The least shared ads triggered low levels of hilarity and surprise, and didn’t resonate with audiences. These ads also caused viewer confusion.

Figure 1 illustrates the intensity of two of the key factors in an ad’s ‘shareability’ – psychological responses and social motivations. The two strongest – Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” and Ram Trucks’ “Farmer” – both elicited intense psychological responses and strong motivations to share.

Figure 1: Will It Share?



The report was compiled using 2,699 survey responses, plus data from the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which has been tracking the most popular videos on the web since 2006, Unruly Analytics, Unruly MEME™ (Media Engagement and Measurement Engine), Unruly’s cloud-hosted platform for social video distribution & tracking, and Unruly ShareRank™, which analyzes over 329 billion video views and over 10,000 data points to predict the social impact of video content.

Super Bowl 2013 ads were used to provide a level playing field of campaigns launched around the same time and aired on the same day.

Click here to download the full report.

About Unruly

Video technology company Unruly is the leading global platform for social video marketing and works with top brands and their agencies to predict the emotional impact of their videos and get them watched, tracked and shared across paid, owned and earned media. We use our proprietary technology to turn target audiences into engaged viewers and engaged viewers into customers and advocates. Brands use our social analytics dashboard to benchmark their content, outsmart the competition and demonstrate superior ROI. We’re dedicated to finding elegant, data-driven solutions to the social marketing problems that challenge brand advertisers in today’s cluttered and confusing media landscape.

In a nutshell, brands use Unruly to join the dots on Facebook, YouTube and the social web. The Unruly Viral Video Chart has tracked 329 billion video streams since 2006. With an engaged audience of 978 million consumers, across the full range of mobile, tablet and second screen devices, Unruly has delivered, tracked and audited 2.8 billion video views across 2,500+ social video campaigns for over 400 brands including Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Volkswagen, Microsoft, Warner Brothers and adidas. We’ve worked with 60% of Interbrand’s Top 100 Best Global Brands and our mission is to deliver the most awesome social video advertising campaigns on the planet.

Founded in 2006, Unruly has 11 offices and employs over 125 people globally. In 2012, Unruly secured a $25 million Series A investment – the largest ever for a private company in the social video space. The company has won over 15 awards including “Best Content Distribution Service” at the Braves Awards; “Digital Innovator of the Year” at the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 and #14 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2012. To find out more visit www.unrulymedia.com

UNRULY, UNRULY MEDIA, UNRULY SHARERANK, UNRULY ANALYTICS, THE UNRULY VIRAL VIDEO CHART and associated names, marks, logos and designs are trademarks and/or registered trademarks owned by Unruly Group Limited in the United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere. Copyright 2013 Unruly Group