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Why Did The #Icebucketchallenge Go Viral?

As eager marketers, business owners and general marketing enthusiasts the first thing on our mind when we think about the Ice Bucket Challenge is ‘why has it gone so viral?’

Why do we ask this question? Well because we want to be able to recreate that virality amongst our own online content and marketing campaigns, that’s why.

Unfortunately there is no equation that makes content go viral, in fact some content you expect to go crazy online, just doesn’t.

Whilst there is no equation, there are some aspects we can use in order to attempt to manipulate a piece of contents success online.

There are three main facets that I believe significantly exacerbated the virality of the Ice Bucket Challenge;

Ice-Bucket-August-27Chain mail and technology

Technological advances have meant that chain mail is something that can become quickly widespread at just the click of a button, and the Ice Bucket Challenge is no different.

Ironically the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral just after Facebook changed its videos to auto play in the news feeds.

This means that although you may have not normally have seen the video, the fact all of these videos are auto playing in news feeds helps to create hype and get people interested.

With Facebook auto playing videos in news feeds and the ability to seamlessly share between social platforms, the overall virality of the content has been encouraged by the technology available.

Looking good socially

On social media we all have a persona and it is likely that on this platform you will embellish your life somewhat; therefore you want to look great to others on social platforms.

Being nominated for The Ice Bucket Challenge is essentially like being called out by your friends and the last thing you want to be seen as, is less charitable and as fun as them.

Those who choose not to indulge look bad for not being part of the online cause, and let’s face it; no one wants to be that awkward person who isn’t part of the big thing that’s happening right now.

This leads to a seemingly conformist attitude on behalf of social network users where they need to feel part of something, which is typical of social characteristics.

Fun factor

Chances are if the Ice Bucket Challenge had actually been something along the lines of ‘write a paper on ALS to help spread awareness challenge’ no one would have done it.

When things are fun, and people don’t have to put too much effort into it, the chances are the more likely it is to become viral.

Social-Networking-August-27As we briefly mentioned above users of social networks tend to embellish their lives on social platforms, so why wouldn’t you want to be seen as the fun, crazy and caring individual taking part in the ALS challenge?

The Ice Bucket Challenge has swarmed our news feeds over the past week and three large contributing factors to its success can be boiled down to;

  1. Technology allowing it to become viral
  2. Inherent need to look awesome to social networking peers
  3. It’s not really much of a challenge but it is a fun gimmick

Therefore if you want to give your content or marketing campaign the best chance to go viral, then you need to make it fun. Relate it to user behaviour online and make sure the technology is there to support it.

To stay updated with the latest changes and trends on social networks, why not come along to one of our social media training courses, alternatively contact us on 0845 456 1022.

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