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Don't Watch These Videos

Whatever you do, don’t watch the Dollar Shave Club or Kony videos. If you’ve already seen them, forget about them and move on.  It’s just never going to happen. Your next video isn’t going viral, and guess what? That’s okay. We know it's tempting to think about – tomorrow morning you wake up and your video has 250,000 views, by the end of the week you have just shy of 3 million (Dollar Shave is at 3.4M). But let’s take an objective look at the numbers and see what our odds of pulling this off look like.

Don't watch this video, it will poison your mind:

YouTube reports that it has 800 million unique visitors per month who, combined, watch a total of 4 billion hours of video (or on average 3.75 hrs per visitor per month). Sounds good so far! But now let’s look at the competition for those 800 million pairs of eyes. How many other videos are on YouTube standing between us and our captive audience? Turns out, there are too many to count (and Google isn't telling) but conservative estimates put the number somewhere around 250 million (± 300 million).

What Google does share is that in addition to your lovingly crafted product demo video, there are another 60 hours of new video uploaded every minute to YouTube! Which means that if we only consider the new videos added this month there will be over 2.5 million hours added.  And if our average visitor is watching 3.75 hour in a month, the chances of him spending that time on your video are somewhere around 0.0001%. And all this assumes that your business video is at least as entertaining, engaging and shareable as the NBA highlights, music video parodies and animal tricks that it is competing against.

The conclusion: the odds are stacked heavily against our business videos getting more than a handful of views per day on YouTube. Yes, occasionally a video will go viral and give us false hope, but to focus our efforts on this elusive virality is equivalent to us spending our marketing budgets on Powerball tickets because there was a big winner two weeks ago.

No, instead of chasing the dream of an instant internet sensation, we are much better served spending time developing a video marketing strategy that focuses on how the thousands of visitors on our actual site are interacting with our videos. This isn’t as grand and sexy as the viral video splash, but it is much more likely to help us grow our businesses as we continue to hone our message to website visitors. And if we want to take it one step further, we should be using video promotion strategies (SEO, email integration, etc) to continue to drive more prospects to our site. This is video marketing strategy.  For 99.9% of companies, any time spent discussing viral video plans is only a distraction from the real video strategy work.

Also, definitely go watch the videos, because they're amazing, and you could probably learn a lot from their tactics. Just don't count on your videos going viral.

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