The Magic Formula of Going Viral 

Are you posting video after video but not getting the attention you deserve on social media?

If so, you’re not alone - 34 Million new videos are posted every day on TikTok alone. 

So you’re competition is pretty damn tough.

How do you stand out and finally go viral?

Glad you asked - 

The short answer is, focus on improving your “Watch Time”.

If you want a longer and more detailed answer, stick around. We'll review everything and then share our secret, step-by-step formula for going viral.

Source - Backlinko, 2024

Why is Watch Time the Most Important Metric?

This metric shows how much of your video people actually watch on average. And platforms like TikTok and Instagram love it when viewers stick around.

The longer someone stays on their platform, the more money they make. It's that simple.

So, these platforms will push videos with higher watch times because those make them more money from advertisers. They want to keep eyeballs locked for as long as possible.

For you, higher watch time proves your content is engaging and people are actually watching rather than just racking up fake views. 

The Magic Formula of Going Viral 


“The Hook” – Nothing else matters if you don’t get this right.

The internet is packed with content and creators. 

And you just have under 3 seconds to grab your audience’s attention.

And what you say or do in these first seconds is the hook of your video. 

The million-dollar question is: How do you craft a hook that instantly glues eyeballs to the screen? 

While there are many ways to go about it, here are 3 of my favorites - 

  • Combine opposites - Start by combining two things that don’t typically go together: putting a bra in boiling hot water, burning cash, or putting shaving cream on a balloon. I can go on but you get the point. All these examples create an itch in the viewers’ minds. They can’t help but wait to see what happens next. 
  • Start in the Action - Instead of starting with, “Hey, my name’s Mark, and I’m going to make…..” - jump right into the action. We’re living in the era of short content, people don’t wait until you reach the point. If you're doing cooking videos, start by showing yourself cutting veggies. If you’re doing a DIY video, it’s best to begin by putting things together and gradually showing your audience what you’re up to. 
  • Curiosity Gap - One of the most effective strategies in our experience is to start with a visual that hints at what’s about to happen but makes them think - how would he do it and what would be everyone’s reaction? 

An example that combines all three is given below. It’s a prank in which, in the opening shot, we see our creator putting a bun in a coffee cup. We know it will be a coffee prank but are curious how it would turn out. The creator gave no introduction and jumped right into the prank, and c’mon, who puts a bun in a coffee mug?



Okay, so you captured your audience’s attention with your awesome hook, and now they’re watching. Fantastic!

Your next job is to make sure they keep watching for at least 15 seconds or more. Remember, the longer the watch time, the more your content gets pushed to a larger audience and the higher your chances of going viral. 

Let’s revisit our coffee spill prank example and see how famous creator Dritan Alsela keeps your attention by building suspense.

Once he puts the bun in the cup, he doesn’t instantly go for the final cut; he puts a spoon in the cup’s handle and slowly takes the cup in the air, shaking and wiggling it, to show it won’t fall.

This clever trick buys him another few seconds and keeps you all waiting.



Finally, it’s time to deliver on what the hook promised, unveiling the mystery, putting the last piece of the puzzle together, and showing the precious reaction that your viewer was patiently waiting for. 

For the coffee spill video, the payoff is the moment when Dritan goes around the ladies and in the moment you’d least expect, fumbles the cup, making it look like he spilled the coffee on a woman.

As you may anticipate, the woman jumps and screams before realizing it is just a wholesome prank. 

Pro tip - End your video within 2-5 seconds of delivering the payoff; don’t let your video linger. This will help increase your video’s repeatability, and you’ll have a higher chance of retaining full watch time, leading to better exposure and increasing your shareability, another key metric for going viral.   


And that’s a wrap!

This magic formula is just one of our many strategies to take your social media to the next level. 

Our leading creators and content strategists have helped over 250 leading brands build better social media. 

Interested in learning what we can do for you? Book an exploratory call with us. In 20 minutes, we’ll develop 2-3 angles to help your brand go viral. 

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‍Power of Explosive Brand Storytelling‍

You know how there always seems to be some brands just killing it with their marketing?

Like they've tapped into something special that has people obsessed with their brand? 

Well, there's actually a pretty simple reason behind their success.

They've mastered the art of storytelling.

Think about it - when was the last time you got really hyped about a product just because some ad listed off all its features and specs? 

Probably never, right? 

When Dunkin’ wanted to be on top of their audience’s minds, they didn’t release videos telling all sorts of things they put in their donuts.

Instead, they made Ben Affleck play as a Dunkin employee and crafted multiple funny skits with compelling UGC narratives.

The result? The viewers couldn’t get enough of it.

The brands creating the most buzz aren't just rattling off capabilities. 

They're crafting full narratives that completely suck you in and make you feel something.

The key is to skip the boring "all about us" content and instead focus on telling stories that entertain, inspire, and add value for your audience. 

But your job doesn’t just end with some creative ideas. 

You need to really understand the kinds of content and personalities your particular crowd is super into. 

  • Start by looking at the influencers and creators they follow religiously. 

  • What is it about their vibe and storytelling style that resonates so well? Channel those same vibes into your own brand personality and the stories you tell.

Of course, just having a few good stories isn't enough either. 

You need a consistent, long-term strategy for pumping out fresh, engaging content month after month. 

From my experience, it typically takes 3-6 months of that dedicated effort before you really start gaining traction.

The most successful brands crush it by taking that strategic, sustainable approach to storytelling across all their marketing channels - social media, ads, you name it. 

They team up with awesome creators who can bring their narratives to life in an authentic way that truly connects.

And let me tell you, the payoff is huge when you nail it. It's marketing gold - and very few brands are going after it.

But this prime opportunity for storytelling-led growth isn't going to last forever. 

The brands pushing those boundaries now are quickly separating themselves from the pack. 

If you want a piece of that action, you need to get started ASAP before the window slams shut. 

Want to hear all about it and much more?

I was recently invited to talk about EXPLOSIVE BRAND STORYTELLING on “The Remarkable Podcast” hosted by Eric Eden.

Go check out the full episode and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

If you’d like some help building explosive storytelling for your brand, send me a message, and we’ll set up an exploratory call.  

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How Marketing Can Be Your Difference Maker & Game Changer

Don’t Miss This Window of Opportunity Before It Closes

Getting your marketing right is the easiest way to accelerate your brand's growth, and a small window of massive opportunity is open now, but it will close soon.

The easiest way to describe this opportunity is to look at history.

If we look back 30 years, there are short windows of time in marketing and advertising that have allowed savvy marketers to scale their businesses. Then, the rest of the market catches up, and the window closes.

For example, 

Time Period                             The Opportunity

1995-2000                                 Internet Marketing

2003 - 2006                               Behavioral Marketing

2008 - 2011                               Facebook Media

2012 - 2016                               Influencer Marketing 

2022 -                                        ???  

The most successful marketers have the foresight to anticipate trends and embrace areas of significant growth early on. This strategic advantage allows them to establish a competitive edge before others do.

That opportunity right now is Creative Strategy and Execution.  In other words, how you present and position your brand is everything right now.  

99% of brands are still stuck in top-down marketing, where the content they produce feels like an ad. It is brand-centric and either talks about capabilities or benefits.  

It feels Boomer at a time when even Boomers don’t like to be communicated with in this way. 

Social media, cell phones, and the Creator Economy have rapidly changed the game, but marketers have been slow to adapt. 

There are a few companies, however, that are doing it right. 

Such as -  

  • Prime - Reached $1 Billion in revenue in its 2nd year of business
  • Liquid Death - $700 MM valuation after 5 years in business
  • Gym Shark - Two twenty-year-olds build a $1BN business
  • Duolingo  - Scaled from $78MM to $531MM in revenue in 4 years
  • Dunkin - Scaled from $811MM in 2015 to $1.4BN in 2023
  • Wendy's - Grew its revenue from $1.2 BN in 2017 to $2.2 BN in 2023

Source: Statistica 2023 and Forbes 2023

Notice that all of the above sell products in highly competitive markets, and their products have little to no differentiation.

Superior marketing is the differentiator.

These marketers and ones like them have asked better questions and seek out executives to be on their team who have a deep pulse on social media and speak in a language that refers to hooks, suspense, and payoff. It is a different language and focus altogether. 

These marketers also focus on the customer-first approach and keep their immediate brand needs second. 

I know it sounds simple, but to truly think like this, you must have a lot of faith, hire the right team, and have a little patience. 

These brands focus on creating fun, relatable stories with creators (aka influencers) and run superior social media content based on 3 and 15-second views, as well as other metrics aligned with the goals of the social platforms. They are incredibly aware of what is working in social media so that they can game the system.  

Their ads do not “tell and sell,”; rather, they entertain, inspire, and educate. 

Sales follow because the brand's content is so good. 

These brands have transformed from the content interrupter to the provider. 

Think about Red Bull for a second. If you like Extreme Sports and you see an athlete with a Red Bull logo, you watch because you know something amazing is about to happen. 

If you see an article written by Patagonia and you care about climate change, you read it.

If Nike is providing a training video, you watch it. 

Would you like to be the next amazing marketer in your industry and accelerate your business right now?   

If so, follow our 5 Steps to Cracking The Social Media Code. If done correctly, you will build massive brand equity and drive sales of your product or service - 

Know Thyself

Build out the core reasons that your customer should believe in you.   

What does your brand stand for beyond your core products and services? For example,

  • Apple advances humankind
  • Nike inspires and empowers athletes 
  • Red Bull gives you wings
  • Patagonia is all about sustainability 

What is it that you do? Find your Simon Sinek’s why.

Build your archetypes, your values, and your emotional and functional points of difference around this purpose 

This process is not hard, as you already know all the answers; it’s a matter of finding the right brand strategist to guide you through a process that allows you to see yourself on a single 8 ½ ” x 11” piece of paper.

Lead With Social Media 

Leading with social media is easy for emerging brands as they lack the budget to do much else.

It is harder for larger brands whose executives have extensive experience developing creative strategies that use 15, 30, and 60 commercials as the foundation of the brands. These highly defined ads dictate everything else, i.e., radio, billboards, streaming, and social media.  

This is an easier path to execute because everything is linear, planned well in advance, and doesn’t change much throughout the year.  

But it is not nearly as effective as starting with social media.

Great modern-day marketers like Wendy's and Dunkin' create experiences they can test in social media and successfully extend outward. For example, most people agreed that Dunkin won the Super Bowl ads earlier this year in a highly competitive field.

That’s because they tested Ben Affleck as a Dunkin employee on social media with great success and then extended the campaign to a much larger TV campaign on the Super Bowl.  

The beauty of this campaign was that the ads on TV were not even the best part. It was the BTS that everyone liked most, which ran on social media and YouTube.

Tell Stories With Creators (aka influencers) + Creative Strategists

People want to hear stories from others, not companies and bots.

After our basic needs are met, humans yearn to connect to other people more than anything. 

Carefully select the creators you want to represent your brand and build content that helps them accelerate their lives while promoting your brand. 

When choosing a content creator, focus on whether the creator develops content that suits your brand and caters to a target audience in your demo/physiographic. Several tech tools allow you to see audience profiles, engagement rates, video view rates, etc.

Use the creator’s follower level in social media only as a tertiary metric of future success.

Spend time in their Reels to see how skilled they are at social media. If a content creator is a traditional celeb, strong Reel content is key, as some are dialed into social media, but many are not. 

Once you have chosen the creators, you need the right creative strategist to generate ideas for execution. This is a critical step to success. You may have the right Creators but you need breakthrough ideas to succeed; otherwise, you may waste a lot of money.

At Socialtyze, for example, our creative strategists are leading social media creators with millions of followers. 

Run Media on Meta, Google, YouTube and TikTok 

To accelerate brand equity and capture customer attention, focus on these platforms.  

Most emerging and established brands could focus on these platforms exclusively for massive growth.  

They are the most effective platforms for building brand awareness, creating consideration, and driving sales. 

Unless you and/or your team have lived and breathed in the ads manager for many years, please find a pro to help you.  

Just because we can all drive does not mean we should race in the Indy 500.   

Meta and other platforms all have self-serve tools, but if you want to be a leader in your space, you must find experts to execute paid media; however, you can save some money by having the buyers on your team and tapping leading paid media strategists as consultants. 

Measure What Matters

To measure the effectiveness of your marketing, license a dashboard that will allow you to easily measure all your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in one spot.   

Speed and efficiency are key to maximizing success.

Short-form video is the key driver of your success in today’s social media world, and the main upper funnel KPI’s to focus on are - 

  • % that watch :03 or more (hook)
  • Cost per :03 View
  • % that watch :15 or more
  • Cost per :15
  • The average length of view 
  • CTR

Run DR ads to retarget all engaged users and focus your lower funnel KPI’s on landing page visits, leads, and conversions. 

As you consider dashboards, we would be happy to help. At Socialtyze, we built a leading dashboard that can be customized specifically for you.  It pulls all the key metrics in one easy-to-use interface. 

Best of luck in capitalizing on this window of opportunity before it’s shut. If you execute the above with the right team and have a lot of faith and a little patience, you will succeed. 

If you don’t have the resources, time, or expertise to follow through quickly on the above, contact us for an exploratory call. If it’s the right fit, we’d be happy to help. Our team has empowered over 250 leading brands to win in social media.

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why are Hooks important in video


Yes, you with the phone in your hand, rapidly scrolling and switching between apps. 

How long has it been since you last looked up from that small screen? 

Let's not sugarcoat it - we're all constantly bombarded with viral content, notifications, and more distractions than a restaurant full of toddlers.

In this endlessly interesting but terribly unfocused online world, capturing someone's attention for more than a few fleeting moments is one of the biggest challenges creators and businesses face. 

And that's why mastering the art of the "hook" is absolutely crucial for anyone wanting to seriously engage an audience in our short attention span era.

What is a Hook anyway?

By definition, a hook is the part of the content that grabs your attention, convincing you to read/watch/listen.

A hook can be a short statement or an action you see happening on your screen, aka, visual hook.

In this blog, we’re focusing on video hooks, hooks used in short-form video.

Why short-form video? You, I, and 5 billion more people on the internet watch an average of three hours of short-form video content daily.

Short-form videos have been hot for quite some time now and are inevitably the future of advertising. 

Large social platforms now are moving towards a video-first interface -

- Youtube has shorts

- Instagram has reels

- TikTok has TikTok

- LinkedIn is also adding short videos to the site
- And Elon just teased that X  might bring Vines back 

See a pattern, do you?

And why should I care again? 

Done well, a killer hook acts like a literary trap door - the second that tantalizing opener strikes a chord, the audience is helplessly tumbling in to see what you're ultimately building towards.

Their curiosity is piqued to the point where putting your content down is simply not an option anymore. 

They have to keep reading, watching, or listening to learn how the intrigue and mystery ultimately gets resolved.

In a way, it's a psychological trick of sorts to lean your audience in.

Nice, so how do I cook a perfect hook for my video, John? 

Excellent question - and if you’re still reading, I bet you’re serious about going viral and getting your message across. For you my friend, I have a special gift at the end.

Now, there are a whole lot of ways you can hook your viewers attention. I’ve listed 3 of my favorites below.

The Uncanny Combo Hook

Open with two wildly incongruous elements to pique curiosity instantly. Like frying up cash or stuffing a pie in a mailbox. The bizarre visuals demand an explanation to satisfy the "wait, what?!" reaction. But don't get too conceptual - aim for a temporary brain reboot, not total confusion. With creative finesse, these "huhnnggg?!" hooks are irresistible.

The Curiosity Gap Hook

Pose an outrageously intriguing scenario that screams "UM, EXCUSE ME?!" Like ruining a burrito with a water balloon prank. The confounding premise begs for a resolution, which you tease out deliciously. Keep it plausible yet provocative for max "gotta see where this is going" energy.

Want more? Want to learn hooks from the best of the best? 

We curated a list of 20 best-performing hooks from big brands for you. 

Click here to get your free HOOKS guide and don’t forget to follow me at @thejohnbohan

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Why the $100 Million Investment in Dude Perfect Makes Sense

“Dude Perfect Just Hit the Jackpot.”

But, how can one justify $100 MM in investment for 5 guys making silly videos?

What does it tell you about the industry?

And most importantly, what can you learn from this deal?

In this article, let’s answer these questions. 

What’s the Deal All About? 

Dude Perfect, a popular comedy and sports channel on YouTube, recently secured a $100 million private equity investment from Highmount Capital. 

The team says the capital will support the expansion of their operations beyond their traditional online video presence.

The Big Question

But why on earth would any seasoned investor bet $100 million on a bunch of guys who make silly videos on YouTube for a living?

To answer this question, let’s take a quick look at history - 

The first TV commercials were just radio announcements read out loud.

When the Internet first came around, the earliest ads were just like print ads but placed as banner ads online, and the first video ads on the Internet were just old TV commercials.

You see, every time tech evolves, advertising and content need to adapt, but it often takes several years for marketing to adjust. Large companies move slowly so the creative is passed from old platforms to new ones with lackluster performance.

Until someone figures it out and new creativity flows giving birth to modern-day TV ads for example. 

Sure, brands have shifted and placed serious dollars in Social Media--that’s old news.

But, they have yet to adapt to the best creative that will truly connect with their audiences on social media and YouTube.

Why Are Most Brands Struggling? 

Most brands need help to reach their fullest potential because they still use outdated advertising methods. 

Modern consumers prefer authentic, creative, and interactive content, especially younger ones. They favor brands that can engage them on their preferred digital platforms with personal and relatable content.

Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels cater to this need by offering short, impactful, and visually engaging content that traditional advertising often lacks.

That said, working with creators like Dude Perfect can be an excellent move for brands that want to stay relevant and reach more customers.

It is the Creators (aka influencers) who are ushering this movement in, as their audiences are scaling faster and faster while most large and emerging brands are still trying to figure it all out. 

Creators hold the ticket to allowing brands to make the next jump from both a strategy and execution perspective.

If you would like to increase awareness and sales for your brand through viral social media content with leading creators, drop us a note, we’d be happy to chat. 

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