Choosing the Right Channel for Viral Video Marketing

When it comes to online video channels, YouTube is at the forefront of most marketers’ minds. However, the online video space is rapidly expanding and marketers now have access to other options. Instagram and Vine have become extremely popular social video sites and hold great potential for viral video marketing efforts. When choosing the right platform, it’s imperative that you first recognize their different features and user norms.

One hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and the site boasts over 1 billion unique visitors every month. There are several additional factors that make YouTube one of the best platforms for viral video marketing. YouTube videos are easy to share, contribute to search engine optimization efforts, and are readily available to an impressive user base. Agencies and brands have the ability to upload high quality, long-form content and access built-in analytics tools.

However, it seems that there’s a generic formula for virality when it comes to YouTube. People love any video that’s funny, shocking, amazing, or cute. Yes, capitalizing on these themes may work, but more and more customers are getting tired of watching the same kinds of videos. They’ve seen all the tricks and unless you have some mind blowing concept behind your video, attracting eyes may prove difficult.

Both Instagram and Vine are social video sharing platforms with more restrictions than YouTube. Users must record and upload videos via the app, and videos are limited to less than six seconds (Vine) and 15 seconds (Instagram Video). These kinds of short-length video hosting sites differentiate from YouTube in 5 ways.

  1. They specifically target mobile users.
  2. They are better suited for funny videos that fill up viewers’ minimal spare time.
  3. Videos receive more exposure as people quickly scroll through content on the apps.
  4. Videos are easier to find and share because of full social media functions (hashtags, follows, etc.) and strong conjunctions with Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Instagram Video and Vine feature short freeze frame videos which became main stream and created a new norm.


Even though Instagram users trump Vine users (Viners) numbers wise, Viners have to be more creative with their videos. In my opinion, 15 seconds is too long. Most of the Instagram videos are still similar to traditional commercials and short videos on YouTube. However, Vine’s length limit forces users to display all of the eye-catching points in just six seconds. Besides, the loop function provides a new level of creativity in terms of video playback. Taking advantage of video looping is becoming a trend and a special subculture on Vine.

Another factor advertisers and brands must take into account when choosing the right distribution channel is the video’s purpose.

YouTube: YouTube is a suitable database for high-quality commercials because they can be carefully edited and uploaded. Additionally, it’s a perfect platform for behind-the-scenes clips and commercials too long for TV.

Instagram Video: Though this app only allows 15-second clips, Instagram Video can be used for short-form commercial videos. Marketers can edit video clips on YouTube into shortened versions for Instagram.

Vine: Vine is a perfect channel for teasers, product videos and/or event promos. Use entertaining, looping clips to increase brand awareness and user engagement.

All three channels have their pros and cons. Make sure to take them into account when choosing the right channel to promote your branded online videos.

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