Top 10 Reasons Your Videos Aren't Viral

Debra Ellis President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Posted on November 26th 2013

Top 10 Reasons Your Videos Aren't Viral

Making Viral Videos
Viral videos get millions of views but do they really help companies grow? Contributions to the revenue stream are possible when the videos connect with people that use the products or services. Without that connection, a video is little more than entertainment.

It’s hard to remember that the real objective is to sell products and services when creating videos. The allure of virality is too strong. After all, do a few thousand dollars of sales really compare to a million views?

One question I’m asked on a regular basis is, “why aren’t my videos viral?” Here are my top ten answers:

  1. Your target audience is too small. If the only people in the world interested in your video are your parents, don’t expect millions of views.
  2. You didn’t optimize for search. The search engine bots don’t read “video”. Add text filled with good keywords so your videos will show up for the right people. (Don’t bother if the video is for Mom & Dad. Send them an email with a link.)
  3. Your videos don’t fill a need. Viral activity happens when people share content with each other. If there is nothing in your video worth sharing, nothing will happen.
  4. Your PR campaign didn’t work. This usually happens because there ISN’T a PR campaign in place. Contrary to social media lore, reporters don’t spend their days scouring YouTube for videos. (If they did, nothing would ever be reported.)
  5. Your videos are too long. People have the attention span of a gnat these days. Keep videos under four minutes to maximize the exposure.
  6. Your videos are boring. Yep, that’s right, BOOOORRRRRING. Of course it’s almost impossible to make some topics exciting, but give it a try.
  7. You are unlucky. Odds are that you’ll win the lottery or be struck by lightning before you have a viral video. Buy a ticket, get a lightning rod, and make a video. You might as well cover your bases.
  8. You didn’t hire the right SMEE (social media expert extraordinaire). There are people who promise that they will make your videos viral. So you know, those promises aren’t really guarantees, they are more like wishes. If you think that you need a SMEE, read number four again.
  9. You don’t have cats and dancing babies in your videos. It’s a sad but true fact – cute and funny are requirements for viral videos. (Gross and disgusting works too, but who wants THAT associated with their brand?)
  10. You aren’t making and posting videos. The only true guarantee for viral videos is that you won’t have one if you don’t post one. To win it, you have to be in it.

To create winning videos every time, make them interesting, relevant, and helpful for your customers and prospects. Videos that solve problems may not go viral, but they will generate revenue. And, that’s why you are in it. Right?


Debra Ellis

President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Debra Ellis is a business consultant, author, and speaker. She specializes in showing companies how to improve customer acquisition and retention using integrated marketing and service strategies. Her latest marketing guide, 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, is a practical resource for marketers seeking better results with minimal investment. Her engineering background provides statistical insight to finding actionable data that can be used to grow companies and reduce costs.

She is recognized as an expert in marketing from direct mail to social media, customer behavior, and strategic planning. Her expertise is often tapped by media sources including: The New York Times, CNN/’s Small Business Makeovers, Target Marketing, Multichannel Merchant, and MarketingProfs.

Her marketing guides include 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, Social Media 4 Direct Marketers, and Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle.

Debra loves the art and science of multichannel marketing. She is a student and teacher of the methods that transform shoppers into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers. In 1995, she founded Wilson & Ellis Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in creating strategies that make channels and departments work together to optimize the customer experience. Since then, she has worked with over a hundred distinguished clients such as Costco, Edmund Scientifics, Jacuzzi, Ross-Simons Jewelry, and The Body Shop.

Prior to founding her firm, Debra was instrumental in the record growth of Ballard Designs, Inc. while serving as Chief Operating Officer. Today, she uses her experience and expertise to show executives how to successfully navigate marketing channels and integrate activities to profitably grow their business. Her practical approach maximizes the return on investment.

She can be reached via email at [email protected]. She blogs at

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Alexandra Kalinina
Posted on November 26th 2013 at 8:24AM

Very true reasons why some videos don't become viral. I would also suggest to read the following two articles - How to succeed with video content marketing and How to promote video in 12 steps

Posted on November 26th 2013 at 8:40AM

Thank you Alexandra.


Belinda Summers
Posted on November 26th 2013 at 11:09PM

'Videos that solve problems may not go viral but they will generate revenue'. Love this line Debrah. That should be the first aim in creating videos. In a way, it should be helpful for the viewers because when you meet that goal, your avid audience will do the resharing part.Effortless. :)