10 Viral Video Marketing Tactics That Actually Work

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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Let me ask you a question.

How many times have you shared a video even though you’ll never buy from the company that created it?

I’m guessing a lot of times.

It’s the reason why videos like ‘Friends Forever from Android briefly became the most viral video of all time with 6.4 million shares across social media and websites.

The video was supposed to be a dig at Apple.

But… people shared it because it’s a cute video of unlikely animal friendships and not because they were Android fans.

This is really important to your success with viral video marketing.

Going viral is not the end goal.

And that’s why in this blog post, we share 10 viral video marketing tactics that actually work to sell your products and services too.

What’s the Difference Between a Viral Video and a Viral Video That Sells?

There are two main kinds of viral video marketing:

  • A ‘branding’ viral video
  • A ‘selling’ viral video

Android’s parent company Google spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of New York’s top advertising agencies (Droga5) to produce Friends Furever.

But, this kind of video doesn’t always lead to sales.

Here’s a top advertising professional talking to Fortune about the ad:

“I find this strategy guilty of something many clients suffer from. Namely, they are talking to themselves. The public does not care. Everyone I know with an Android phone bought it because of the phone or price, not the operating system.”

So why did they do it?

The answer is ‘branding’.

In fact, the advertising professional in the Fortune article speculates Google paid for the ad to make Android seem a bigger brand so they could sell it for more money in the future.

So here’s the question… what if you’re not a huge company?

What if you need your viral video marketing to bring sales in right now?

That’s why we called this blog post ‘viral video marketing tactics that actually work’ to bring in new customers.

10 Viral Video Marketing Tactics that Actually Work!

Below, we’ve prepared 10 viral video marketing tactics for you.

The first 5 tactics help you understand the kind of video script that will help you go viral.

The remaining 5 tactics are hacks you can use to get more eyeballs on your videos.

Let’s get into it!

1. Tell an Adorable Story – that Actually Uses Your Product

Android’s ‘Friends Furever’ video won the title of ‘most shared video ad in 2015’ because it was so adorable…

But they missed a trick.

The adorable story didn’t actually feature their product at all.

A better example is GoPro’s viral video ad which showed a fireman saving an unconscious kitten from a house fire – it has 45 million views at the time of publication.

The best part of this adorable story?

It was shot using a GoPro attached to the fireman’s helmet.

This ad format works for GoPro because they include a link to their website in the first sentence of the video’s description.

From SimilarWeb data, we see YouTube makes up 44% of all social media traffic to GoPro.com thanks to this strategy.

Here are 5 ‘adorable’ video scripts you can use to promote your products or services:

  • Animal interactions
  • ​Babies and toddlers
  • ​Rescue and adoption stories
  • ​Surprise proposals or reunions
  • ​Kids and pets

2. Tell a Funny Story – That Actually Sells Your Product

The Harmon Brothers video marketing agency has made over $700 million in sales for their clients.

They’re also behind some of the most viral videos of all time.

And the core of their viral video marketing strategy is this: humor.

In fact, here’s what Benton Crane, the CEO of the Harmon Brothers says in this podcast from Engage Video Marketing:

“It just happens that humor is the most shareable content on the Internet. You can get some shareability out of feel good messages, controversial messages, fear based messages, but compared to humor the shareability is really low.”

But Benton doesn’t stop there.

He says the team’s strategy is to write a bunch of jokes into the script – and then cut out all jokes that do not reinforce the sales message of the product.

A case in point is the Poo-Pourri toilet deodorizer video with 44 million views.

The video tells funny stories of a woman worrying about using the toilet – and causing a smell – while at her date’s house.

The video is funny but also reinforces the products’ main selling message.

In fact, the year after the viral video was released sales increased 80% to just over $27 million.

The video also helped Poo-Pourri land on the shelves of Bed, Bath & Beyond, CVS, Ulta, Target, Walgreens and Costco.

Here are 5 more Harmon Brothers videos you can check out for inspiration:

3. Create an Irresistible Storyline – That Actually Demonstrates How Great Your Product is

How do you make a video irresistible?

The answer is this: curiosity.

In fact, curiosity is the main viral video tactic used by the top-subscribed non-music YouTube channel MrBeast.

At the time of publication, his top-viewed video is titled ‘$456,000 Squid Game In Real Life!’ with 477 million views.

But... how can you create an irresistible viral video that also sells your products and services?

The answer to make the video about your product or service.

A great example is Blendtec’s ‘Will it Blend?’ series.

The most-viewed viral video has 19 million views and has a man in a lab coat asking viewers if an iPad will blend in a Blendtec blender.

Here’s what Blendtec founder Tom Dickson said about the video series:

“The campaign took off almost instantly. We have definitely felt an impact in sales. Will it Blend has had an amazing impact to our commercial and our retail products.”

Here are 5 of Blendtec’s top videos from the series:

4. Launch a Challenge – That Actually Gets People to Buy Your Product

TikTok is full of challenges.

One of the most viral challenges is the ‘bottle flip challenge’ where people film themself flipping a water bottle and making it land up-right.

Many brands have launched their own challenges too.

But the best way to make a video challenge go viral and actually make sales is to get people buying your product.

An example is Chipotle’ #LidFlip challenge.

In 2019, Chipotle asked users to film themselves trying to flip a Chipotle lid onto the bowl.

Chipotle got YouTube star David Dobrik involved with the goal of spreading awareness of free delivery for digital orders for Cinco de Mayo.

In just the first six days of the #LidFlip challenge over 111,000 videos were submitted and it created a record-breaking digital sales day driving app downloads and delivery among the target Gen Z audience.

Here are 5 more viral video challenges started by brands on TikTok:

  • GUESS #InMyDenim challenge: More than 5,500 people posted self-styled images of themselves in GUESS denim for the #InMyDenim challenge.
  • Crocs #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge: A partnership with Post Malone led to a challenge asking users what they think a $1,000 pair of Crocs would look like, and the target product sold out.
  • ​Fortnite’s #EmoteRoyaleContest challenge: Popular online game Fortnite asked players to upload videos of themselves dancing, with the most popular being transformed into official ‘emotes’ on Fortnite game characters. The hashtag was used more than 250 million times.
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics #EyesLipsFace challenge: cosmetics brand E.L.F. launched a challenge asking users to upload their best makeup looks for a chance to win $250 worth of e.l.f. Products and got more than 6 billion views to the hashtag.
  • Men’s Health #Movember challenge: Back in 2003, Men’s Health launched the #Movember hashtag that asked men to grow their mustaches for 30 days in November and raise money for men’s health issues. To date more than $559 million has been raised.

5. Make an Entertaining Video – That Actually Highlights a Big Problem 

People watch videos every day for entertainment.

That’s why making your marketing videos entertaining is a great way to make them viral.

But… how do you tell an entertaining video that sells?

One answer is to make your video entertaining while also highlighting a huge problem your customer is facing – and positioning your product as the solution.

A case in point is the Dollar Shave Club’s first-ever advert.

In March, 2012 the company uploaded a video called “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” that featured CEO Michael Dubin delivering an entertaining speech.

But Dubin revealed the video generated 12,000 new orders within 48 hours of going live.

Today, the video has 28 million views.

But when asked why he chose to produce a video like this he told Reuters:

“The shave game has gotten totally out of control, and it’s time someone brought sanity back to the price and the process.”

The message resonated instantly with the right audience – and because it was entertaining it went viral without Dollar Shave Club needing to pay to advertise it.

6. Get Sales From a Viral Video – Without Actually Creating It

The first 5 tactics are all about video scripts.

The next 5 tactics will all be about viral video marketing hacks you can use to amplify sales from your content.

In fact, here’s a viral video marketing tactic you can use even if you don’t have a video.

In his book Traffic Secrets, Russell Brunson tells the story how he purchased a website that sold a product for selling cold sores.

He wanted to promote it and found a video that was already getting thousands of views a month, which someone else had created about the product.

Russell called the channel owner up and offered a sum in exchange for a product link on the YouTube video description.

Russell Brunson writes:

“Almost five years later, this video still sends me hundreds of clicks each month.”

This viral video marketing tactic is great because it doesn’t even require you to create your own video – just find someone else’s which is relevant to your product or service!

7. Make Your Viewers Share Your Video for You – Without Actually Paying Them

One of the latest developments in video marketing is called the ‘viral content upgrade’.

On the Voomly platform, we call it the ‘sharegate’.

How does it work?

It lets you pause a video at a specific moment and ask your viewer to share the video on social media before they can continue watching.

Or, you can ask the viewer to share the video to get a free download.

Or, you can use a Voomly video funnel to ask your viewer to share a video to get taken to a next video (of higher value) in the funnel sequence.

The sharegate is awesome because it gets every viewer sending your video even more viral!

8. How to Get Viral Traffic – Without Actually Paying to Promote Your Videos

Cathy Yoder runs a YouTube Channel teaching people how to cook using AirFryers.

One of her most popular videos has 2.8 million views.

But it’s not from people sharing her content to make it viral – it’s because she mastered the game of video SEO.

The term ‘air fryer’ gets 673,000 searches on Google each month in the US alone.

If you type ‘air fryer’ into YouTube… guess who’s video pops up top?

You guessed it – one of Cathy Yoder’s.

Since Cathy also sells cookbooks and video training in the description to her videos, she can use YouTube to get viral marketing videos that make her money with any paid advertising.

Here are 5 top video SEO tips to get organic traffic from YouTube which pays you money.

  • Keyword Optimization: Use relevant keywords in your video title, description, and tags to help YouTube understand your content's topic.
  • Engaging Thumbnails and Titles: Create attention-grabbing thumbnails and titles that accurately represent your video's content and encourage clicks.
  • High-Quality Content: Produce compelling, valuable, and well-edited videos that keep viewers engaged and encourage them to watch till the end.
  • Consistent Upload Schedule: Stick to a consistent posting schedule to build anticipation and signal to YouTube that your channel is active.
  • Audience Engagement: Encourage likes, comments, and shares by fostering a sense of community and responding to viewer interactions.

9. How to Get More Clicks to Your Videos – Without Changing the Title

The YouTube thumbnail was one of the tips I gave you above.

But, the thumbnail game has actually changed in 2023.

This year, YouTube finally followed in the footsteps of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to show ‘video thumbnails’ which is a video loop from the actual video.

The thumbnail is no longer just a static image.

In fact, TubeBuddy found that 71% of viewers are now using video previews to decide whether to watch a video – rather than the title.

This is a huge development.

If you want to get ahead on YouTube in 2023 then you need to be using video thumbnails.

But… Voomly has introduced the video thumbnail option for videos you host on your own websites too.

Used properly, it can radically improve the number of clicks on your videos.

Voomly lets you choose a section from your video to show as a loop, or you can show a loop from a different video entirely.

You can find an example of a video thumbnail right on the Voomly homepage.

10. How to Get People Watching Your Videos for Longer – Without Changing the Content

If you don’t have good audience retention (i.e. people who watch your video until the end) you won’t have a viral video.


Because it shows that people just aren’t interested in your video enough to keep watching, and this will mean they’re less likely to share your video to someone else.

Also, YouTube ranks videos with longer average viewing times much higher.

But is there a tactic to increase engagement without changing the content of your video?

There is!

Captions and chapters are really overlooked in video marketing.

Think about it.

Not everyone is in a situation where they can listen to a video (they’re on a train, at work, or in the bathroom) so having captions is crucial to getting as many people as possible watching your videos for longer.

Adding captions can be easy on YouTube.

Adding chapters too is easy and encourages viewers to keep watching.

But what about captions and chapters on videos you host on your own website?

Here’s where Voomly’s captions and chapters functions can be super handy!

Just click on the ‘Subtitles’ item in the menu and you can auto-generate or upload your own captions.

Then, in the ‘Interactions’ tab you can drag and drop specific chapters which will load up with your video and help viewers navigate to where exactly they want to go in your video.

Final Thoughts: Do You Need a Viral Video to Sell Your Products or Services Online?

You’ve seen a bunch of examples how businesses increased revenue dramatically with a single viral video.


Does that mean you need a viral marketing video too?

Here are 5 key benefits of creating videos:

  • Higher Engagement: Video content tends to capture attention more effectively than text or images, resulting in increased viewer engagement.
  • Enhanced Information Retention: Videos combine visual and auditory elements, making it easier for viewers to remember and understand the information presented.
  • Emotional Connection: Video allows for storytelling and emotional appeal, helping to forge stronger connections between the audience and the brand.
  • Improved SEO: Video content can improve search engine rankings and increase organic traffic to websites or platforms where videos are hosted.
  • Versatile and Shareable: Videos can be shared across various platforms and formats, enabling wider reach and potential virality.

The last point is what we discussed today.

A written advert or blogpost or social media post can go viral… but because videos are easy to watch and effective they have that added touch of virality.

We hope these 10 viral video marketing tactics give you endless inspiration to sell your products and services online!

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