facebook video sharing

Why My Video Went Viral on Facebook

I’m going to walk you through a video post I made that went viral. My thoughts on why I suspect it did so, what I did and what I plan to do to push its success further.  I’m documenting this in hope of creating a repeatable result in the future.

I’ve been working with Rebecca Lynch, “The Rescue Realtor®” to market her real estate agent services in Orlando Florida and her mission to help dogs in need. With every real estate transaction she completes a portion of the proceeds go to an animal rescue of her client’s choice.


In order for a video go viral on Facebook it needs to be adored by an audience and subsequently shared.

Rebecca has a great story to tell and an admirable cause. She recently travelled to South Florida when she heard about an abandoned dog problem in Redland Florida. As president of Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida (501c3), she travelled with a group of twelve volunteers to rescue as many dogs as possible.

viral video screenshots

stills from the video

My wife and I volunteer for the group, we went on the expedition. The groups goal was to catch as many dogs as possible. My goal was to create a compelling video as evidence of this problem.

I had a duty to help tell a story for the Redland dogs who don’t have a voice outside of the great rescue and advocacy groups in South Florida. From a perspective to promote Rebecca’s real estate and dog rescue endeavor, the strategy was clear, let her narrate the story. She talked about what the rescue group witnessed and what viewers could do to help.

Here is the Redland Dogs Facebook post.

For a video to get moving, use an engaging video thematic

In Rebecca’s case, her video touched on a couple of the thematics.

  1. Aspirational. People were engaged by the problem and were interacting with the post, asking who they could contact and where should they go tohelp. Friends were tagged on the video, helping spread the word.
  2. Testimonial. Rebecca is a great storyteller and naturally can emotionally convey the story of the Redland dogs and what she witnessed.
  3. Activist. Government authorities in South Florida are negligent of the problem. The video and subsequent blog post highlights measures viewers can take to help curtail the problem.

It was a mix of these “recipes for success” that got the video off the ground.

I’ve assembled a master list of social video viral themes that will help you think of an approach for your video.

Direct and to the point

The video is relatively short at 100 seconds. Viewers learned what the video about immediately with the headline, “Did you know… Hundreds of dogs are abandoned in Redland, Florida?” and image of volunteers feeding dogs. Videos are served up on a merit system. If your video does well with comments, shares, likes and viewership it is more likely for Facebook to serve it up to a larger audience.

Emotional connection

The message was primed for success. Rebecca is an endearing messenger for the animals who need help. The video had dogs, a lot of them, which had intrinsic appeal. Viewers are surprised as hundreds of dogs wandering the streets is an unusual fact to encounter. Viewers are compelled to share, comment, like as they feel for these poor dogs and want justice for them.

Video subtitles

Facebook autoplaying video feature starts videos when they enter the viewer’s browser viewport. The content plays without interaction. By subtitling the video, viewers have a better idea what the video is about. These videos tend to get longer engagement and quality interaction.

Video is the preferred format on Facebook

As cell phone data plans get larger video consumption will increase. The video was posted on April 4, 2016. As of April 20, 2016 the video had the following engagement.


Here are some video engagement stats from 16 days of activity:

  • 140,500 unique viewers
  • 128,000 organic viewers
  • 12,000 paid views to the target demographic
  • 750 reactions
  • 800+ host page likes<

unique facebook viewersFacebook post detail stats

Facebook Video Ads

Facebook Video ads were launched to help boost traffic to the video post within Rebecca’s target audience outside the geographic region of Florida. This video targeted families “likely to move” according to Facebook, whom like Orlando, FL, Disney, had a specific net worth and most importantly were dog owners with interest in dog rescue.

The ads were responsible for approximately:

  • 10% of the video views
  • 5% of the video shares
  • 15% of the post likes and comments

The Goal

I’m looking to spread the word on Rebecca Lynch’s real estate effort as a means to directly and positively impact rescue animals within Florida and outside of Florida. Spreading the word of dogs in need is great. I’m looking to convert a percentage of that momentum into views on The Rescue Realtor website, creating brand awareness of her real estate prowess in Central Florida. The video post included a link to a longer testimonial video. Ultimately, when the time comes for a dog loving individual to make a real estate move, they’ll remember they can make an impact through Rebecca Lynch, The Rescue Realtor.

Next steps for this video

I’m on a grassroots Facebook push to help propel the video along further. Direct messaging dog rescue groups, dog advocate pages.

Considerations for future Facebook Video content

Facebook rewards video producers who produce engaging content and penalize producers who create mediocre content. If view length, sharing, liking, commenting is low, it won’t show the video on your page.

Hootsuite says:

The algorithm recognizes when someone’s videos perform well, and it promotes those. But it also does the opposite. If you continue to publish videos that no one engages with and no one watches to completion, Facebook is largely going to stop showing your videos to people.

Creating lackluster videos actually cause a social problem on your Facebook page. Be sure you are creating content that speaks to your audience.

by Alexander Morse

Alexander Morse is a digital designer and brand consultant at Morse Communication Design. He helps businesses communicate with design. His creative techniques and communication design skills were fostered through his agency-side experience working with a variety of clients from entertainment to retail. He is now focused on end-user, persona-driven interactive and conceptual design for consumer brands, non-profits, and clients whose message needs to be driven through impactful design.

master formats for viral videos

Master Formats for Viral Videos

I’ve assembled a working list with the goal of creating a “master formats” list for viral videos.

I think for the master format as the prime ingredient to help spark an idea and turn it into your plan for a viral video hopeful. While you can’t promise someone you’ll create a viral video. You can assert that your making a contentious effort to create a compelling video within a social media network of choice in which it’s content is primed to be sharable.

In 1978, Donald Gunn, Leo Burnett Creative Director created a list of 12 Master Formats of Television Advertising. These were the base ideas that cataliyzed modern TV advertising. Classic formats like Testimonial and Ongoing Characters and Celebrities to Contrast with Competition and Benefit Causes Story.

The formats still hold true today.

Today with Facebook accounts and YouTube channels. The formula has changed. Now when viewers are compelled to share content, what they share reflects directly on their ego, personality and reputation. This drives content creators to adjust their vantage point and create new types of videos. Some of which are associated and leveraged by commercial brands subvertly, put out there by activists, or by pranksters just for the fun of it. Some are better than others for subliminal commercial purposes.

Here is my working list for the master formats for social media viral videos that I’ll revise over time.

Master formats for social media viral videos


These videos play to the desires of keyboard warriors who prefer watching to doing.

  • Vacation videos to cool destinations
  • Travel to exotic locations
  • Making beautiful food dishes in 60 seconds, just like the video show with it’s quick editing
  • Point of view (POV), Go Pro style sports videos taking people on advertures
  • Human or animal accomplishment


  • Pro life tips
  • Interesting and creative solutions to everyday nagging problems
  • Historical facts of signification consequences


Complex ideas and concepts made easy to understand by representing them abstractly and graphically with sound effects and animation.

  • Motion graphics that present dry information in a compelling way. Think Thought cafe as seen on YouTube.



Conspiracy theorists even have their own category for quasi-scientfic explanations for history or current events.

  • Ridicolous fun-fiction events that people know are fake, but it’s fun to share anyway for their bizarre factor.
  • Doom and end of days videos.
  • Bigfoot, aliens, ghosts caught on camera
  • Fantasy, lunatic fringe

Mainstream Media

Footage appropriated from the mainstream television culture.

  • Clips shared from mainstream media news sites or alternative media sources that are the steroids of journalism
  • Saturday night live clips and other popular media.


These videos are often found on popular YouTube channels that develop a following through subscriptions. Often these clips are copy n’ pasted into Facebook for social sharing.

  • Musical or artist performance
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Cult of personality
  • YouTube personality or entity that gains an audience can help propel videos into the viral category.
  • Testimonial

Human Condition

Raw video footage. The unexpected happening caught on video. I was tempted to call this one human perversions.

  • CCTV footage of accidents or something terrible happening
  • Activity-gone-wrong
  • Humiliation and pranks is the dark side of the human spirit that pranksters love capturing on video
  • America’s Funniest Home Video style clips of painful and surprising events.
  • Just for fun, entertainment factor.
  • Cute factor. Cat and dogs imagery always sparks the cuteness factor.


Augmented footage reworked to create something new.

  • Pop culture clips
  • Altered news channel clips, Bad Lip Reading
  • Human tragedy, mishaps
  • Behind the scene, unedited home videos


  • Truth perspectives
  • Politically charged videos.
  • Confrontation of political and popular figures.


  • Justice videos where wrongs are made right serendipitously.


by Alexander Morse

Alexander Morse is a digital designer and brand consultant at Morse Communication Design. He helps businesses communicate with design. His creative techniques and communication design skills were fostered through his agency-side experience working with a variety of clients from entertainment to retail. He is now focused on end-user, persona-driven interactive and conceptual design for consumer brands, non-profits, and clients whose message needs to be driven through impactful design.

facebook video ads

Facebook Video Ads are Hotter Than Yesterday’s TV spot

facebook video ads

Millennials don’t watch TV they watch Facebook.

They have Netflix up on their screen and an iPad with Facebook in front of them. If they have kids, the kids have the big screen and the parents have an earphone popped into a laptop with a Facebook window open somewhere. This is where Americans are, this is where your brand needs to be, subliminally working your message into content your audience is already engaged in.

The Average American Spends 40 Minutes Per Day on Facebook.

Facebook Video Ads are the new 30-sec TV spot.

Videos on Facebook get more engagement than any other type of Facebook ad. On YouTube, viewers are more likely to skip video ads interrupting their programming as soon as the 3 second delayed SKIP button is available.

Facebook’s page scrolling, and modular content, creates a content consuming environment more natural for video viewing. 39 Celsius conducted A YouTube vs Facebook video effectiveness test, demonstrating the value and quality Facebook advertisers are getting over YouTube marketers.

Video is all over the web, but Facebook is the place to be.

2016 confirms the trend line that video consumption on Facebook is surpassing Google’s YouTube for the number one video format.  In November 2014 the trend line of Facebook video posts surpassed that of YouTube. Just ask YouTube freebooters out there. Don’t know what a freebooter is? YouTube content creators are getting their creative content pirated from YouTube and uploaded into pirate’s Facebook accounts. This often resulting in the freebooters getting more views than the original YouTube creators. Facebook is being criticized for taking days to respond to complaints. Once they get around to it, the damage is done and the videos get millions of views resulting in more time being spent in the Facebook ecosystem.

Video is king. If video is not your current method for getting content to your audience, find a way to make it so. If you are already getting your message out there with video, great! You can use Facebook user algorithms to enhance your media buying dexterity. Target your audience granularly, based on user interests, demographics and life events. You are able to specify geolocation, age, income, interests, and hobbies to a tee. You have precision control to be able to exclude people, such as fans of your Facebook page, or people you are already targeting by other means. Targeting frequent travelers? Options allow you to focus on travel history, such as, recent travel to certain areas.

video play button on fire

Video content is the best visual content that will get you more viewers. Facebook video ads are given favorable treatment in user timelines compared to other visual ad format. Video content producers get the most engagement on Facebook, more than any other type of paid content post. Facebook states that in late November 2015 it hit a milestone of 8 Billion Daily Video Viewsdoubling since April. Keep in mind,  Facebook counts a video impression or Cost Per View (CPV), if a video up on the screen for at least three seconds. Since videos are auto play, users who are slow scrollers can trigger video auto play and may be counted as a view although they didn’t perceive any video content.

Track impressions and performance to the second. Facebook’s video metrics let you track individual video performance and retention, second by second. This allows you to craft different versions of your video and experiment with edits or content that may perform better and  have longer retention times than the previous effort.

A video ad will not just perform successfully on its own based on the sweat equity you invested in it.

You need to provide content that doesn’t violate the unwritten rules of Facebook engagement. Facebookers are interested in social consuming and sharing mode, give them something visual, relevant, and valuable that is tailored to their interests and maybe work in a marketing message at the end of the video.

Facebookers are in social consuming and sharing mode, give them something visualrelevant, and valuable to them that is tailored to their interests

Set aside some of your marketing budget for Facebook video ads. It’s a worthy way of getting quality branded content out there, from product placement to emotional testimonials. This digital marketing platform is going to soon be called traditional advertising as it should be in the toolkit for most marketers.

by Alexander Morse

Alexander Morse is a digital designer and brand consultant at Morse Communication Design. He helps businesses communicate with design. His creative techniques and communication design skills were fostered through his agency-side experience working with a variety of clients from entertainment to retail. He is now focused on end-user, persona-driven interactive and conceptual design for consumer brands, non-profits, and clients whose message needs to be driven through impactful design.