Perhaps I just do not “get it” anymore, maybe I have grown so long in the tooth that I cannot figure out what is genuinely good anymore when it comes to online video?!?
When you work in online video marketing, an essential part of the job is to stay on top of what is happening – who is doing well with innovative online video and what the next big thing will be. Recently, I was looking through the Unruly Viral Video Chart and I came across a video that astounded me. It has had over 22 million views and yet it is one of the most boring videos I have had the misfortune to watch in quite some time.
The video can be seen below. It is a product video demonstrating the features of the Samsung GALAXY S5. Can you watch it to the end without getting bored?
Here are the stats for this video:
251,154 FB Likes
41,265 FB shares
28,404 FB comments
320,823 FB total interactions
8,719 Google +1′s
Astounding, absolutely astounding.
Do views = good video?
On the surface, all we know is that this video has had A LOT of views and shares. What we can’t see are the deeper analytics for the video.
The video is hosted on YouTube and YouTube Analytics will be able to show Samsung how well the video has performed in terms of retention of viewers – how long viewers are watching the video for, and the points at which they switch off.
In terms of engagement, we can see that the video (at time of writing) has had 26k ‘likes’ and 3k ‘dislikes’. The video has also had over 3k comments, and those on the first page consist mainly of criticism and comparison with other products. However, criticism isn’t about the video itself, but rather the product featured in the video.
The power of a brand
An obvious explanation for the view count and viral ‘success’ of this video is it’s association a) with a brand and b) with a product type that is very evocative to a large number of people (i.e. smartphones).
Samsung already has it’s loyal followers and users. These people will want to know about the features of any upcoming products – to compare with their old Samsung phone and to compare with other brand phones e.g. the Apple iPhone. As Samsung are a big brand, we are talking big numbers – and as this video is ‘useful’ to some extent (because it explains the features visually, rather than people having to read them), we could have predicted that the video would do well online.
What might seem like a boring, self-indulgent video to me (as a non-Samsung follower or smartphone enthusiast), can actually evoke a very emotional reaction is those that do care – especially as smartphones do play such a significant role in our daily lives.
Big brand, bad video
Samsung’s success with this video is ultimately as a result of the connection that audiences have with the brand and with the product – it is definitely not down to the production values of the video itself. I have had a look around to see if all of Samsung’s videos are as poor as this one.
This is the recent trailer for the same product. This is a low cost production, but it is more engaging than the boring video above, because it is upbeat, faster-paced, and shows people engaging with the product. However, it has had 16 million less views than the boring video above (at time of writing).
The video below is another recent product video, for the Samsung GALAXY NotePRO. I am not necessarily encouraging you to watch it, unless you are a geek/or accept the challenge to get to the end. It is also over 3 minutes long and just as boring as the smartphone video. It hasn’t had one million views yet, and it has been online for a month. That could be hinting at the fact that Samsung tablets are not as popular as the iPad.
To give you a comparison, the video below is for the Apple iPad Air. The inclusion of an important face and voice from the business instantly makes the video more interesting and accessible. Half way through, the video goes on to demonstrate the product in action in real live scenarios – it also switches the narration to another Apple interviewee, which keeps it interesting. The view count on this video is relatively low, compared to iPhone videos, but again this is testament to the importance of phones over tablets.
Apple’s videos all have a particular style that has become embedded in the audience’s expectations of them. Samsung wouldn’t be able to claim the same brand impression.
There aren’t many other brands that could be excused for creating product videos as boring as the Samsung GALAXY S5 video above and still achieve such substantial view counts. What this case study represents is how a big brand can achieve viral view counts with minimal effort. They have ready-made audiences with a vested interest in their product and brand; so some online videos are simply guaranteed to be viewed. Such a shame that Samsung have chosen to waste the opportunity – surely they have the budget to do better.