Video technology company Unruly Media has published new insights into the life cycle of branded viral videos. According to Unruly's research, the most critical days in a video's lifetime are those immediately following its launch:

Social diffusion curve unruly video chart

Unruly Media

Unruly's Social Diffusion Curve measures a video's virality by graphing its average daily number of shares. The chart shows a strong positive correlation between number of shares in the first three days and number of all-time shares.

Other data from the research show that:

  • 10% of video shares occur on day 2
  • 25% of shares occur in the first 3 days
  • 50% occur in the first 3 weeks
  • 66% occur in the first 3 months
For maximum long- and short-term virality, the research suggests that brands should focus on the first three days of a video's life to generate substantial viewing and sharing numbers.

Sarah Wood, Unruly's COO and co-founder, explains that such a focus "increases the likelihood of creating a viral cascade in the crucial first days of a campaign and ... leads to increased views and shares over the longer term." 

The current Social Diffusion analysis is based on its Viral Video Chart. Unruly has been tracking the Internet's most successful viral videos for seven years, offering brands social analytics and video tracking capabilities.