Can We Predict the ‘Shareability’ of Videos? Unruly’s New ShareRank Tool Says We Can

Can We Predict the ‘Shareability’ of Videos? Unruly’s New ShareRank Tool Says We Can

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When it comes to getting your video noticed, you want to get a lot of views…but how do you get a lot of views?  You might be surprised it takes a lot of work.  What you really want to get with a video is something that people are likely to share amongst their friends.  That’s why it’s cool that one of our pals, Unruly, measures a video’s success in “shares” rather than views (although, it’s implied that the views follow with a lot of shares).  Today, Unruly launched ShareRank, an algorithm designed to predict the “shareability” of videos before they are even launched.  Let’s see how it works.

Unruly’s ShareRank Aims to Predict Social Video Success

Unruly’s Viral Video Chart uses social tracking technology which has been in place since 2006, and with data stored for over 300 billion streams, I’d say that technology has a lot from which to derive its data.  They’ve worked closely with people like Dr. Karen Nelson-Field from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science to help them identify what emotional triggers lead to sharing in their social video lab.  And they also have a huge amount of consumer data, which measures their emotional responses to video.

So with that kind of knowledge in place, Unruly can get a group of people to watch an untested video and compare their responses to the data collected from all of those millions of video streams, and figure out if the unreleased video has a good chance of becoming something people would share.  Here’s an example report from their overview:


How large of a data sample? According to Unruly, they test a video with an online audience of 150 people, 100 from the specific target audience the brand is trying to reach.  The method isn’t foolproof, mainly for reasons like budget and targeting the wrong audience, and other anomalies that occur during a video’s launch.  However, they claim an 80% success rate, which is phenomenal.

This is the strategy laid out for their new ShareRank feature:

  • Improve the shareability of existing content
  • Plan distribution strategy to maximize sharing and account for earned media
  • Plan their content strategy to make future content more shareable

I like the idea of a company using scientific data to determine a video’s success probability. With really good math, something you will often hear with expert poker players and baseball’s sabermetricians, it’s all about variance, increasing the odds of success. It’s not a predictor of guarantees (nothing is), but the likelihood of success in certain situations. If you’ve got data that tells you, that in a certain situation, you’re going to be successful 80% of the time (which is very high), then you take those odds. I’m very interested to see what Unruly comes up with next.


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