2018 was a year of great marketing campaigns which attracted a lot of conversation on social media. From innovative agency-driven concepts to user-generated content being picked up by brands, the past year had a lot in the way of marketers reaching out to their consumers in increasingly diverse, personalized and often unconventional ways.

For instance, Nike’s controversial campaign starring Colin Kaepernick has reportedly earned Nike $6 Billion in sales. While opposed by some, the campaign attracted a lot of engagement and became a conversation staple for millions of social media users online.

Read further for our top 5 picks which impressed us with their online video marketing in particular:

1. Ihop to Ihob

To promote their new burger offerings,  American multinational chain IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) changed its name to IHOb, albeit temporarily. This change was supplemented by online video campaigns and vigorous tweeting to publicize the move.

The mystery behind the “b” was immensely popular. Hundreds of users on Twitter made their guesses as to what “b” could stand for. Some of the popular ones included “bankrupt” (edgy!), “bacon”, and “biscuits”.

The online campaign attracted a lot of attention, with as many as 2.1 million tweets mentioning IHOP in the days after the launch. The brand also reportedly quadrupled its burger sales and needless to say, the campaign was a success.

2. Go Pro’s Octopus Scandal:

What are the odds that you're out at sea and get slapped in the face by an octopus? Low, you'd say. Further, what are the odds that this octopus was in fact being used by a seal as a bludgeon?

GoPro user Taiyo Masuda found the answer to this the hard way.

Masuda posted the video on his Instagram account, tagging GoPro's official account in his caption.

View this post on Instagram

新しい @gopro #Hero7Black で衝撃映像撮れた?? 4K60fpsの安定化オンで撮ったからここまで驚いて全部撮れてた!こんな楽しいカヤックはじめて!!音声も海とかのガチャガチャ音ないし最高! @barekiwi getting octopus smashed into his face by a seal⁉️ I’ve never had such an amazing kayak everrrrr!! I am super stoked that the new @goproanz #Hero7Black captured without missing a thing although we shook so much, #hypersmooth the stabilisation managed it so well!! I made a little montage to show how good the audio came out!! No noises super clean!! Thanks to @kaikourakayaks @purenewzealand @kaikouranz @goprojp @howtodadnz @snapair for such an epic trip!! #gopro #ゴープロ #ゴープロのある生活

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GoPro's social media team immediately realized the exceptional viral marketing potential of the clip and reposted it on their official Twitter account (with permission from Masuda, of course). From there on, things exploded.

Sometimes what you need to capture an audience is content that is equal parts fascinating, shocking, and even bizarre. With this clip, GoPro found content that ticked all the three boxes and quickly went viral all over social media, further cementing GoPro's reputation as a manufacturer of rock-solid outdoor camera equipment.

3. LinkedIn #InItTogether Campaign:

Aiming to break its stereotype image of a white collar portal, it featured different professions in the targeted video series, portraying a diverse range of users who find value in the professional social network.

LinkedIn’s approach to the stereotype and breaking it down with a documentary-style video focusing solely on the platform’s relationship with its users clicked with their target audience.

The campaign was largely successful and widely shared on social media, alongwith being released in numerous countries. LinkedIn successfully challenged the conservative image and recieved of positive coverage in traditional print and digital media outlets as well, both for innovative advertising as well as the evolution of the LinkedIn brand.

4. Apple iPhone Xs Launch:

Apple is well known as one of the most innovative companies in the world. While the rest of the world seems to have caught up their technical innovations, Apple still maintains a unique marketing aesthetic that competitors have found hard to replicate. For instance, Apple's main Twitter account boasts of over 2.5 million followers without having a single tweet (other specific accounts like Apple Music, Apple News and the App Store do tweet, however).

After the September 2018 launch of 3 new iPhones and an updated Apple Watch, Apple released the keynote videos online via their Youtube channel, which garnered a lot of engagement.

In 2018, Apple became the world’s first company to cross $1 Trillion market cap. With strong YoY growth in sales (with a slightly underwhelming response to the new iPhones being the only blot on an otherwise excellent year), Apple maintains its marketing crown with a cult-like following.

5. Amazon’s Alexa lost its voice:

During Super Bowl 2018, Amazon pushed an amusing advertisement campaign where Alexa, the company's smart voice-assistant AI, lost her signature voice and was substituted with multiple celebrities, including Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, and Anthony Hopkins.

A good selection of replacement voices which resonated with the userbase of Amazon Echo devices made this strategy extremely effective. In 2018, Amazon sold at least 100 million Echo (Alexa-powered range of smart speakers) devices globally. This is a far cry from the product that was critically panned upon its introduction in 2016.

As we saw in this list, the ideal recipe for an effective video marketing campaign includes using concepts that resonate well with your target groups and a healthy dose of user-generated content. With online advertising spend crossing traditional print media ad expenditure in early 2019, brands will have to focus more on innovating with their social advertising and if you ask us, these entries on our list are some pretty solid inspiration.