Brand video virality: The role of audio, visual and plot characteristics

Karpasitis, Christos (2017) Brand video virality: The role of audio, visual and plot characteristics. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Drawing on theoretical insights from multidisciplinary research in the fields of Multimedia, Internet Marketing, Business Management and Information Systems, this research is set out to explore how video content characteristics affect brand video virality. In this way, this research attempts to address a well-documented gap in existing research on the contributing factors that make brand videos viral (West, 2011; Cashmore, 2009). More specifically, it investigates the effect that particular content characteristics (visual graphics, audio and plot) might have in driving large numbers of consumers/social media users to create online stories about the same brand video by sharing, commenting or liking it in social networks.
To examine this, engagements of Social Media users with brand videos were analysed and monitored by using the method of netnography. Following Dobele et al (2007)’s sampling approach, four brand videos selected on the basis of three main criteria: being global, being viral and being examples of a recent viral marketing campaign, were examined. In addition, two online surveys of a total of 351 Social Media users were conducted. The online surveys included open-ended and closed-ended questions regarding the participants’ engagement with different video content characteristics that were included within the brand videos examined.
The results of this research suggest that the separate characteristics/components constituting a brand video's content may have an independent effect on the virality of the brand video. More specifically, across the video content characteristics examined, plot was the most powerful in terms of its impact on a Social Media user's decision to create an online story about a brand video in social networks and consequently, enhance its virality. Moreover, the presence of a familiar character/actor within a brand video’s visuals can significantly increase the possibility of the brand video going viral. In respect to the audio, there was evidence that for a brand video to go viral, "music fit" is vital.

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