January 03, 2017

How Emotions Influence Video Sharing

How Emotions Influence Video Sharing

How Emotions Influence Video Sharing

One of the most viewed viral videos by a sizable margin is Adele’s Hello. It amassed one billion views within 87 days of release. The video focuses on themes of nostalgia and regret and plays out like a conversation.

The Song’s lyrics revolved around “all the relationships of the past” including friends, family members and ex-partners. The video was shot entirely in black and white which helped to trigger nostalgia and longing.

Now, do you think any of this was luck? No. The strategy was artfully plotted and careful orchestrated with song married to extensive research. You may have seen videos of sneezing panda cubs or cute cats doing the rounds online and when properly executed, these videos are largely successful because they tug at people’s emotions.

I would like a viral video!

Who doesn’t want their video to go viral. Every brand hopes their video will go viral when released, but of course most of them go largely unnoticed.

The key to driving engagement and sharing of your video is to target specific emotions, and really tug on that leash.

Most marketers know this and some actually manage to make memorable videos. But there’s always the challenge of blending emotions in a way that causes the right effect.

Next time you want to create a memorable marketing video, consider these factors:

Emotional appeal

If a video makes you feel happy, shocked, angry, tearful, etc, it has great potential to become viral.

Strong emotional reactions are what marketers target. But like a marketing guru always said, it’s best to keep things positive. Videos that result in positive reactions are more likely to get shared than say, a video that causes anger or disgust.

Make it compelling

Most videos getting millions of shares across multiple social media platforms all evoke strong emotional reactions. Whether these emotions are positive or not, you have to really nail it.

Budweiser pulled it off with their Puppy Love commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl. Its a perfect example of a super shareable video, involving love, friendship, the cutest puppy ever, and a happy ending that pulls at your heartstrings.

They got the right mix of emotions and worked them into a lovely commercial. But like most viral ads, they didn’t scream Budweiser throughout the ad. In fact, the brand only shows up at the end of the ad, where it then closes with a clever hash tag #BestBuds.

Children and animals

For whatever reason children and animals (whether used together or separately) really make a big hit. It might be because it’s harder to script a video involving kids or animals- they’re harder to control- or because they are naturally funny, cute and genuine.

Whatever the reason, videos such as Charlie Bit My Finger or Otters Holding Hands are Online sensations because they are either funny or cute.


Humor plays a big role in help making videos go viral. Of course the content varies and what makes one person laugh tends to be subjective. But generally, certain things are universally funny.

Watch a few video ads containing humor, such as Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ ad, or that other one, ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy.

These videos can be shared across all demographics, because they appeal to just about everyone. That’s the power of humor, it appeals to a wider audience. And if a video makes people laugh, it will be shared.


Dozens of brands have parodied popular videos for their own agenda and in some cases, they experience great success. Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video for example, has been parodied hundreds of times by individuals and brands, but of course it helps that the singer has millions of followers and she’s naked on the original video.

Videos that hint at popular culture in funny, silly or outrageous ways have great potential to go viral. Kanye West’s video for Bound 2 is one example. The video is so ridiculous it caused an online sensation and resulted in multiple parodies, done by different people across the world, including one by Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Why are emotions so important?

Examining this whole idea of using emotional content in video marketing, a study was conducted by Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, to understand how emotions play a role in normal social sharing.

After analyzing 355 billion videos from a popular video distribution channel, Karen Nelson-Field, senior researcher at the institute found videos that triggered strong emotions from the viewers, positive or negative, were twice as likely to be shared across social media as those that contained a bleak message.

The study also looked into the various emotions that followed from people watching the videos. They discovered that positive emotions (mainly exhilaration) were the most effective in triggering people wanting to share.

The second positive emotion was found to be hilarity, and as marketers have discovered, these emotions help viewers remember the the video (and hope the brand).

Even though emotions are universal, you also need to recognize that people respond differently to specific kinds of emotions. Strong emotions tend to cause subjective reactions.

So you need to understand your audience well when developing a video. If you keep their emotional baseline in mind, it should help you make the video useful for your brand.

Wrapping it up…

Video marketing can really help out your brand, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort to put all these components together that will make a video work.

Most people don’t get it right the first time, or even the first few times. Even professional marketers make mistakes when putting together marketing campaigns. However that shouldn’t stop you since there are many directions you can try along with new opportunities for you to reach out to your audience.

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