Red Bull is the undisputed king of viral branded video, according to Unruly’s annual look at the brands whose videos attracted the most social shares. With more than 27 million shares of its videos last year, Red Bull lapped the field, more than doubling its closest competitor, Samsung (12.5 million shares).
Red Bull’s viral video performance last year was also a significant step up from 2015, when it came second to Android. In 2015 (through December 10th), Red Bull had collected roughly 6.2 million social shares of its video ads, less than a quarter of its 2016 total. Unruly’s analysts note that this year Red Bull pursued “an always-on strategy, releasing hundred of videos throughout the year.” Volume seems to have done the trick, given that Red Bull didn’t place among the 20 most shared ads of 2016 (through November 29).
Red Bull and Samsung were the only brands to have more than 10 million social shares. Rounding out the top 5 were McDonald’s (8.6 million), Australian Tourist Board (6.4 million) and Asus (5.3 million). Other notable brands in the top 10 included Nike, which came in sixth after being absent from last year’s top 10 and adidas, which improved a spot to 8th.
Unruly points to emotional ads as a key to success, citing this as a common theme among this year’s top brands. Emotional connections were also linked to breakthrough TV and video ads in both Q2 and Q3 2016, per Ace Metric’s rankings.
About the Data: Unruly’s rankings are based on the number of shares – as opposed to views – that ads on Facebook and YouTube attracted across Facebook and the blogosphere. As such, they rank ads by the volume of active pass-on rather than the passive, paid metric of video viewership. Data was collected from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.