Can You Predict What Information Goes Viral on the Internet?
Every day thousands of pieces of information get put out on the internet. In fact it’s difficult to keep track of all the information. Today everyone is trying to predict what info will be noticed. Still, less than 15% of ads on the internet go “viral”. Even “viral” isn’t easily quantified; it isn’t about a specific number of views on the internet; it’s more of reaching a certain level of awareness, it’s about creating a buzz. Creating that buzz is a mix of luck, timing, and content quality. More often than not though we’re stuck looking back at something that went viral and all we’re able to say is that was pretty cool. Well here are some thoughts on why information on the internet gets noticed.
- You can get info on what’s going or gone viral. This can help you understand what types of information actually do get noticed. Any number of different web sites offer links to what are the hot topics or words on a daily basis. Just a few include:
- Mashable velocity alerts – Mashable can send you e-mail alerts on what is starting to go viral.
- Google hot trends – lists the hot Google topic searches on a daily basis.
- AOL trend hunter – lists the hot trends on AOL.
- Bing keyword search tool – research key words people are using in searches on Bing.
- AOL hot searches – top searches on AOL.
- Remember information can be broken down into any number of different subareas. Data is collected and tracked on all the top trends in almost any area – weddings, cars, child names, etc. You can access the top searches on any subtopic by searching – “Top trends in . . . .” Just fill in the blank.
- More and more people are looking into the science of how the human brain processes information. Talk to an expert or do some research when putting your information together. Formatting does make a difference. Colors, type of text, location of information all play a part in creating an “easy on the eye” internet piece.
- Look at what has gone viral in the past. Dissecting why something went viral in the past might help you see what elements caused it to do that. Keep in mind though; fresh concepts and ideas are one of the main ingredients why something goes viral. Be imaginative and innovative; don’t just copy old ideas.
- Who is your audience? Is your ad being viewed by a warm audience or is it a “cold call”? Are you trying to do a hard sell or soft sell? Is the customer expecting to see the ad or are you blindly advertising to a new group of potential customers?
- Keep working to insure that the internet information you provide is quality content. People appreciate information that has value. Even if your information doesn’t go viral, quality content is a necessary element if you hope to go viral.
- Release your information at the right time of day. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are all accessed more frequently in the early afternoon, LinkedIn is accessed more in late afternoon and Google+ is accessed more frequently early morning. This is not a hard and fast rule. Each customer base is different.
- Think about the best day of the week to put information on the web. Monday or Tuesday might be good for business related sales information. The weekend or evenings might be better for sales of personal use products. Again it depends on your audience.
- Think about the time of the year. Keep in mind that the time of the year does matter. People are busier or more distracted during the holidays or seasonal events like school sports tournaments and graduations. Release your information at the appropriate time.
- Always think about relevance and context of your information. Can you tie in your information and link it to events going on in the world or in your local community to make it more relevant to your audience.
- Think about the reason for providing the information. The reason for providing the information can be anything from getting people to buy something to getting people to take action on a political issue. The type of message determines how and when you should present your message.
Can we force something to go viral or is it happenstance. It’s really a mix of many variables. You can increase the chance of your information going viral by staying on top of current trends and events, designing quality information pieces, and by releasing your information at the right time and with the right context in mind.