Why Creating Engaging Video Content is More Important Than “Going Viral”

Everybody wants their video to go viral, but is it that important? Read on.

All a marketer has to do is visit YouTube and see a whole lot of videos that are racking up the views and increasing sales for companies. The truth of the matter is that having a viral video hit is such a difficult thing to do. In fact, of all of the videos that YouTube plays only a tiny, tiny percentage ever goes viral.

You can appreciate that YouTube looks for videos that attract a lot of “eyeballs” within the first 24-48 hours of being uploaded.

The more views and subscribers can help your videos to rank wee. That’s why people think of buying YouTube views and subscribers. Their goal is not to buy just numbers, they want to buy real youtube views and real subscribers for their investment.

A lot of marketers put down having a “viral video” as one of their marketing tactics.  It’s almost like saying that you’re going to have a number one music hit by Easter.  It’s remarkably hard to do, even harder, if you’ve never tried making a viral video before.

Create a Lot of Videos

In the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, he points out that hits are almost like freaks of nature.  Yet, music or movies that aren’t very popular make up the long tail, and they can still be profitable over the long term (for companies who can conglomerate everything together – think Amazon).

And it’s the long term that is important here.

  • According to Pixability, when it comes to using website videos effectively, top marketers publish 11 x more videos on YouTube.
  • Essentially, to be successful with online video, you need to create videos and lots of it. As Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen wrote in Great by Choice, excellent companies try a lot of things to see what sticks.  They fire lots of “bullets” using a low-risk strategy that involves minimal expense.
  • They then analyze the results of all the bullets to see what has worked.  The winner is then granted more resources resulting in the firing of one great big “cannonball” in an area that has been proven to work.
  • If you’re a B2B marketer or even B2C, be careful about thinking that you have to go viral with your video to get success.  The reality is that YouTube is a great resource to get a lot of video views if that is how your business model works.  It’s ideal at creating instant revenue for music artists (such as the Gangnam Style video where PSY makes money through ads shown on his Youtube channel, ad rates vary depending on what country it is played in), any ad revenue from songs that parody his tune on YouTube and directing people to iTunes (to get download revenue).


  • Likewise, it’s ads on YouTube that bring in the money for YouTube celebrities that have their own channel for educating about makeup, etc.

So if you’re business model is to sell your product or service (as opposed to making revenue from YouTube ads), then it’s not so much about the number of views, but engagement.  Rather than focusing on producing one viral hit, think of producing a series of videos related to your product or service.

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Published on April 14, 2020 by Peter Hughes; modified on August 31, 2022. Filed under: , .

Peter Hughes is a digital marketing consultant and author. Peter has more than 10 years of experience in SEO and Internet marketing.

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