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Anatomy of a Viral Video: A Tale of Two Stories

by Stephan Spencer  |  
April 19, 2017

Between two similar videos, what makes one buzz to the top of the YouTube charts... and one languish in obscurity?

I gathered some experts in video marketing to discuss key ingredients of videos that make it big: social media marketing expert Brent Csutoras of Kairay Media; YouTube celebrity and science guy Steve Spangler of Steve Spangler Science; Jamie Salvatori, the founder of novelty online retailer Vat19, with 2.7 billion YouTube views; and Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Creative, the creator of the viral smash "10 Hours of Walking the Streets of New York as a Woman."

We looked at two videos.

One was the story of Arthur, a disabled Gulf War vet who was told he would never walk without a cane, but by using yoga and personal determination he lost 140 pounds in 10 months and regained full mobility.

The other was the story of Derek, a US Marine captain who was paralyzed in the line of duty and received a second chance at walking through the help of high-tech prosthetics.

Two inspiring stories in a similar genre with similar editing style, yet (as of this writing) Arthur's video has over 13 million views, whereas Derek's has only around 6,800.

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Stephan Spencer is the founder of Science of SEO and an SEO expert, author, and speaker.

LinkedIn: Stephan Spencer

Twitter: @sspencer

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  • by Neil Mahoney Wed Apr 19, 2017 via web

    Your 10-15 second time frame for capturing the audience conforms to the many years of advertising knowhow. That's about the time it took to capture the readers with the head, subhead and illustration in a print ad.

  • by Nick Fri Apr 21, 2017 via web

    I take issue with this article, I think it's a bit out of touch with the true mixture of what makes a viral video. I will point you in the direction of Casey Neistat and his success with creating viral content.

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