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What Makes A Video Go Viral (Besides Cats)?

By Michelle Pitcher
The Dallas Morning News.

DALLAS.

Everyone wants to have a viral video.

Since you can’t always find a rollerskating cat when you need one, a former Navy SEAL and a marketing expert are working together to make virality easier to predict and replicate.

Jon Iadonisi, a decorated veteran, is the founder of Dallas-based VizSense, a paid service that allows businesses, personal bloggers and everyday users to track how their videos are performing online. Tad Perryman is executive director of the startup, which officially launched in July.

The software, which is available starting at $20 per month, works by using Twitter data to see whose tweets generate the most video views on YouTube. This allows creators to pinpoint who is responsible for a video’s popularity.

Perryman said VizSense is about seeing who and what make content viral so that success can be duplicated.

For companies, a viral video could reach millions of potential customers who have not been reached by traditional advertising methods.

Perryman has been working with content providers for years as an advertising expert and said he often got clients asking for him to make a viral video.

You can’t make viral, he said. But through VizSense, a video maker can improve the odds.

“The key element to viral videos is the people who are talking about it,” Perryman said. “VizSense is looking at who made the connections and who listened to them.”

Individuals’ ability to share content through social media platforms determines the way information spreads. The team believes people are most likely to share something if they are amused by it, angry about it, or inspired by it.

While serving in Iraq, Iadonisi noted the power of viral videos, particularly those used by terrorist organizations for recruitment.

“We know of a lot of bad guys who were killing my friends, and they were really good at making viral videos,” Iadonisi said. “These videos catalyze, and now we can look at data.”

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