“Challenges” are now commonplace on our social media feeds. Our friends, family and everyone else we vaguely know share and contribute to the virality of these videos and images. What is it about them that lets them travel so far, capture so many people, and get the kind of exposure that most business’ would kill for?
One of the most important is interactivity. The average viral video involves watching, enjoying and then sharing. Challenge add the feature of participating, which add a personalised element that catches viewers attention. An entertaining video containing someone’s family and friends are much more likely to be watched and shared than one without. This also means that simple formulas which can be easily altered and built upon are some of the most popular. Giving people the ability to make the challenge their own creates a lot of excitement over who is going to do it better, do it bigger, and do it stranger, creating a viral culture around the most popular entries.
There is also usually a low barrier to entry. You don’t have to be rich, classy, beautiful, young, or any other descriptor to join in an online challenge. You can be anyone, from anywhere, and most challenges involve household items that are easy to get a hold of. This accessibility makes sure that the video travels a lot further, with people from every walk of life taking part.
The appeal to vanity, and giving the participants the chance to feel good about themselves, is really the overarching idea when it comes to participating and sharing. Whether it be the ALS Icebucket challenge, the Cinnamon challenge, or Neknominate, being a part of the movement yourself is the biggest motivation to share. You could easily donate to an ALS related charity, eat a spoonful of cinnamon, or skull a drink without filming it, but why would you if you can show all your friends you did and get recognition for it. The #DontJudgeChallenge, although quite confusing in nature because it seemed to be calling pretty much anyone with a unibrow, glasses or pimples ugly, gained so much traction because it was a platform for social media users to post videos of themselves looking what they deemed to be “attractive”. Giving people a chance to show off will always lead to larger virality.
Most importantly this also leads to the call to action at the end of your video for website. It could be as simple as “Share this video!” but it’s the more the specific ones which usually acheive the biggest results. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge not only called for people to donate to research facilities for ALS, but to select people to do the challenge themselves. Calling for immediacy, that those chosen must complete the challenge within 24 hours, also makes sure that the feed is constantly updated.
Have you ever used the marketing methods of a “challenge” in a promotional video production?