A study into viral videos has found that emotional engagement and effective distribution are equally important when it comes to achieving viral video success.

The study, by online video technology company Ebuzzing and Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin off group, Affectiva, examined the top 40 UK and US YouTube videos of 2013 and ranked them by emotional response using Affectiva’s Affdex Engagement Score.

The tool, which considers the range of facial emotions elicited by a video, their intensity, duration and variability, also takes into account visual cues such as smiles, disgust, concentration and surprise.

It found that viral successes such as Evian’s Baby and Me, DevilsDueNYC’s Devil Baby Attack and Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon generated very high emotional engagement with viewers, showing an average Affdex Engagement score of 92.

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