3 Takeaways From YouTube’s Kevin Alloca’s TED Talk

“We all want to be stars,” explains Kevin Alloca, YouTube’s trends manager. If you haven’t had a chance to check out his TEDYouth talk on “Why Videos Go Viral” – it’s definitely worth viewing.

Why Videos Go Viral – TEDYouth

Alloca discloses some impressive YouTube video statistics such as “two days of video get uploaded very minute,” but then he drops the bomb: “Few videos go viral.”

As the Double Rainbow guy groans (whose viral video has gotten over 33 million views): “What does it mean?”

It means that today, if you nail three attributes, it’s much easier to become a part of the collective pop culture experience, to launch to fame and yes, to go viral. These are:

1. “Tastemakers”

Alloca points out that videos are uploaded and then usually creep along in obscurity until a pinnacle moment happens: a “Tastemaker” (or “Influencer” as we here at VideoGenie call them) discovers the video and shares it with their large and energized audience. It’s extremely important that any video wishing to have a place in viral history come across the laps of individuals who, not only have energized followers, but also have the desire to introduce new and interesting content to their audience base. When employed in marketing, most successful video campaigns must have a way to identify and leverage these influencers.

2. “Communities of Participation” 

Video content that allows audiences to have a participatory role in the phenomenon – whether it be through sheer emotional connection or incentivized call-to-actions – will have the highest chances of going viral. Participation is key – pure enjoyment of content won’t be the trigger that leads to viral success. Relating this lesson back to successful video and user-generated content (UGC) marketing campaigns, audiences must feel compelled to participate – either by sharing, responding to, or recording their own video.

3. “Unexpectedness”

If someone wanted to craft the idea for and film the most perfectly embarrassing fall, it wouldn’t be as successful or have as much impact as an unexpected “fail” fall moment captured on video. A key component of unexpectedness is authenticity, and truly authentic video content (especially UGC) is the ticket to virality.

Alloca believes that this new future of video entertainment will be a world where the “audience defines the popularity” and feels “ownership.” We believe the same will define the future of successful video marketing campaigns, as well.