Imagine you’re driving along with your partner and a police officer stops you on the grounds your young child isn’t sitting in a car seat… Under normal circumstances, it might be a legitimate traffic stop, but there’s no doubt you’d be a little confused if you didn’t have a child, and even more so if you had no idea that your wife was pregnant.
This is an admittedly odd scenario to pose at the start of a blog post but, last month, one US Army veteran found himself in exactly that situation, and the whole thing was caught on camera.
The resulting video – a raw explosion of emotion as the former soldier finds out he’s going to be a dad – was one of Newsflare’s most widely shared pieces of content in April 2017.
Here’s our attempt to explain why.
On the viral video trend spectrum, pregnancy announcements and the like have been on the rise for a while, as Newsflare’s Head of News Mark Morris explains.
“Video content that goes viral appears to do so because people want to be seen to be associated with it, perhaps because it fits in with the view they have of themselves. That’s why they share it with their friends on social media.
“It probably comes as no surprise, then, that our data has indicated for quite some time a move towards more positive, heart-warming content with a human-interest narrative – a story people can relate to.”
When it comes to pregnancy announcements and similar types of content like engagements, gender reveals, loving pets, hilarious grandparents, unusual first dances, servicemen coming home from duty etc, we’ve seen it all. But what exactly is it about this kind of footage that appeals not just to our paying clients, but to our clients’ audiences too?
When trawling through Newsflare’s extensive archive, our clients are looking for certain things that set a video apart from the rest.
Originality is always at the core of a potential viral video. This pregnancy announcement is obviously unique because it features something the public had never seen before. Who would have thought that a potentially stressful traffic stop situation could turn so quickly into a wonderful, heart-warming one? The unexpected nature of the story is surely what makes it truly memorable and, therefore, contributed towards the clip becoming a viral hit.
However, just because a video is unique, it won’t necessarily spread far and wide. It has to have a human component in the narrative too (even if it involves an animal). We’ve been witnessing an increase in the popularity of heart-warming stories about people’s challenges and achievements, a fact that is clearly reflected in the performance of this video where a cop seamlessly transitions from fierce enforcer to good Samaritan. Take the soldier’s difficult background into account too, and what you have is an uplifting video that people feel is worth sharing because it has value.
The above knowledge is key for our research team every day, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The buying behaviours of our clients change over time and the behaviours of online audiences are incredibly varied.
So what other sorts of content is Newsflare selling at the moment?
Human vs. animal
Cute animals behaving in adorable ways and performing awesome tricks are always potential winners. However, when there is a human interaction involved, the appeal goes through the roof. This baby dressed in a lion costume playing with a ferocious lion, for example, has made its way into the hall of fame and still regularly appears on news sites and TV shows after it took off.
And check this one out. This certainly isn’t cute, but it’s definitely a close encounter with an animal, and it’s gone viral in the last few weeks.
Children and babies
Every now and then, a video of a cute baby will appear on your Facebook feed or on your favourite news site. This kind of content has always been popular so it should come as no surprise that babies doing special and/or funny things are popular with our clients.
Whether you see a baby playing with a cute puppy or a youngster having a funny reaction to eating a lemon (we have a lot of those), you never know when you might film a seller on your phone. Again, if you really want your video to take off, though, you should look for something unusual and unique, such as this baby appearing to say “I love you” to her mum or this toddler panicking because there’s a hair on her arm.
On a more serious note, it’s worth mentioning that foundations are very much news and journalism-based. They are always looking to supplement their articles with video footage, so whenever you witness something that you think the media should be covering, capture the footage if it’s safe to do so.
Remember, all of the above is based on our data analysis and experience, but predicting virality is not an exact science. Use your instinct and, if you’re not sure, please contact our team of UGC journalists at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be more than happy to give you feedback and advice.