#Kony2012: Lessons from the Most Viral Video of All Time

The 30-minute documentary, Kony 2012, hit 100MM views in 6 days, making it the most successful viral video in history. This post isn’t about the content or politics surrounding the video, but the format and what social media marketers can learn from it. Here are the top 5 lessons:

#kony2012. kony 2012, viral video, viral, videoBreak the Rules – Industry standards say that users have an attention span of about 2 minutes max when it comes to watching online video.  Over 30% of people who watched the video watched the full 30 minutes, blowing the whole 2 minute rule right out of the water.

Simplify your Message – Have a clear call to action for users to take. At the end of the video, users were directed to share it with others. Looks like quite a few of them did.

Follow the Formula – I blogged earlier this week about the 6 Secrets of Viral Videos and what do you know, this video used nearly all of them. Although you can never guarantee a viral hit, there are proven tactics like music, surprise, cuteness, humor and celebrity.

Set Expectations – By minute 2, the video explains how long the video is, what you’re going to learn and, most importantly, what action they want you to take at the end.

Be Prepared – The traffic from the video crashed the Kony2012 site almost immediately, diminishing the amount of action users could take when they were most inspired. Although it’s hard to prepare for 100MM views in 6 days, it’s always good to talk through the “what ifs.”

What do you think about Kony 2012? Do you think anything else contributed to the video’s success that should be added to this list?

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